Economics, Business and Geography trip to Morocco
28 Nov 2019
The Morocco trip took place in October 2019 and involved students studying Economics, Business or Geography. The trip offered an invaluable opportunity to experience life in a very different culture with the chance to learn about micro-finance in a lesser developed country; understand the challenges faced by owners of small businesses; gain a first-hand understanding of the impacts of tourism on a lesser developed economy; see work in action from a local women’s cooperative (an argan oil production company); see an ethical tour operator and the price mechanism in action at local markets.
Below is a day-by-day account of the trip from the students themselves:
Day 1 by Colin Schulz
Our trip to Morocco started with an early morning, leaving school at around 8:40 am. The mood of the group was really good, as we were all looking forward to some sunshine and warmth – a nice change to the miserable weather we’d been experiencing for the last couple of weeks at home! The first day was quite a long one as we had two flights to catch, the first to Casablanca, which was around three hours long, and the second to our final destination, Marrakech. After arriving at our hotel we finished our first day with a nice meal at a terrace restaurant, recommended by our guide, Mohammed.
Day 2 by James Stafford
We started the day by taking horse–drawn carts to the centre of Marrakech, from where it was only a small walk to the palace of one of the old kings of Morocco. After a tour of the palace, we went to see one of the souks of Marrakech. We were guided through all the little streets and alleys of the market and it was exciting to get an insight into the day-to-day living of some of the Moroccan people. We were all amazed by the size of the souk, as it felt like we were walking through it forever, but then we were told that we had only seen half of it! We also went to a spices shop, where there were all sorts of ‘potions’ and ‘magic spices’ that claimed to fix everything from stopping snoring and getting rid of colds. Some people were lucky enough to receive a Moroccan massage!
Day 3 by Lucas Naether and Daniel Zhou
On the third day, we enjoyed an interesting bus tour around the Medina, the old part of Marrakech, whilst our tour guide told us wonderful historical stories about the city. In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to experience Moroccan bargaining culture as we were given free time to purchase goods in the market. These goods ranged from handmade chess games and other impressive handmade woodwork to ‘copies’ of watches and clothes. It was quite an experience for us, as negotiating the price to pay for the goods we wanted to buy was strange, as we’re so used to fixed prices in supermarkets and shops at home. What a good eye-opener for us all – we were certainly able to learn one or two bargaining tricks!
Day 4 by Leonard Guetter
On the fourth day of our trip it was time for us to depart the wonderful busy city of Marrakech and travel towards the Atlas Mountains. We woke up early for a long drive along wonderful mountain roads. Rather than drive directly to the town in which we were staying, we decided to hike up the mountain to it. There was wonderful scenery on our way up, making it very worthwhile, particularly as we had the evening to rest, warm and cosy, in our sleeping bags.
Day 5 by Daniel Nedoluha
Our fifth day in Morocco was spent in the Atlas Mountains. We went hiking through the barren but beautiful landscape, walking up to 2,400 metres vertical height. The walk was long but very enjoyable, as on the way up we met locals and their companions, the donkeys.
Day 6 by Isabel Siebert-Caceres
After trekking down the mountains one last time, our journey continued towards the beach. Here we noticed the vast contrast between the hectic life in the city, the agricultural occupations in the mountains and the tourism-based coast. We even rode dromedaries (Arabian camels) in order to reach our campsite. Some of us enjoyed the bumpy ride more than others, but it was definitely a great adventure for all. The sunset we could see in the evening was stunning and the stars even better! Being away from civilisation and light pollution meant we had dinner underneath the glittering of what felt like every single star out there. Fortunately, even though we had neither a toilet nor a shower, we all had a great time on this special day.
Day 7 by Isabella Schenk
We started our seventh and final day with a nice camp breakfast on the beach. Once fed and watered, we undertook an hour of beach cleaning, in particular collecting all the recyclable plastic rubbish. It was shocking to see how pollution in the oceans and on land is impacting Morocco’s beautiful nature. This particularly raised our awareness of the responsibility we all have for our planet. It was then time to return to civilisation by visiting the coastal city of Essaouira: a small, picturesque city well known for its silver jewellery. After exploring the old town with its small streets and many shops, we successfully haggled over the price of anything we wanted to buy before enjoying a traditional tagine for lunch. After this we went on a three-hour ride through the desert back to Marrakech. We freshened up and then walked through the city at night to the rooftop restaurant we had eaten in on the day we arrived. A wonderful way to finish off our trip with a glorious view over Marrakech.