Choosing a place to study abroad can be difficult. There are so many beautiful countries, cultures, and regions of the world to explore.
Here are 10 of the best reasons to choose Rabat, Morocco's coastal capital city, for the study abroad experience of a lifetime.
1. As the capital of Morocco, Rabat is home to embassies, as well as most government buildings, non-governmental agencies, and organizations related to advocacy and public policy. Rabat also has multiple universities and the largest library in the country. (Pictured here: The Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco, a government building)
2. Rabat is considered the safest city in Morocco for both Moroccans and foreigners, due to the high level of security on the streets. Crime statistics also show that Rabat is safer than many major cities around the world, including Chicago, London, and Paris.
3. The capital city’s proximity to other Moroccan cities makes it easy for students to see more of Morocco during their weekends and free time. (Pictured here: Study abroad groups visiting Chefchaouen (left) and Jemaa El Fna Square in Marrakech (right))
4. Rabat has a rich culture and history, with museums and historic monuments throughout the city.
- The Kasbah of the Oudaya, an old fortress that was built to protect the city, sits at the corner of Rabat, connecting the ocean with the Bouregreg River. It has a beautiful garden, a cafe with lovely views, and is still a working neighborhood.
- Hassan Tower, located in the central neighborhood of Rabat, was originally commissioned to become the biggest mosque with the tallest minaret during its construction in the 1190s. When the Caliph died, construction stopped, until the Mausoleum of Mohammed V was added as a tomb for royalty in 1971.
- Chellah is a vast area of land that houses both the remains of the Roman Empire in Rabat, as well as the even more ancient ruins of the Phoenician Empire. The site also has a large garden area and massive walls that surround the ancient ruins.
- The medina is the older, walled part of the city that still houses markets, restaurants, and homes. Rabat's medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Convenient and reliable transportation makes getting around Rabat easy for locals and for students. Taxis are trustworthy and abundant, and there is also a modern tramway and the new TGV (high-speed train). In fact, Rabat recently opened the largest train station in Africa. (Pictured here: Rabat's tramway during a beautiful sunrise)
6. Rabat provides an incredible mix of tradition and modernity. High-end spas use the Moroccan hammam (bath) as their biggest selling point. The front entrance to a modern pizza restaurant might bare the intricate design of traditional Moroccan woodwork. And people wash their hands or get their drinking water from ornate water fountains throughout the city every day.
7. The population of Rabat is about 600,000, or a little more than 1 million in the entire metropolitan area. This manageable city size makes it ideal for students. Because of Rabat's ideal location on the coast, the beautiful beach and surf culture give the city a relaxing feel.
8. Many students love Rabat because of its temperate climate. All four seasons are mild and pleasant in Rabat, with reasonable winter temperatures and easy access to beautiful beaches in the warmer months. (Pictured here: Children swimming by the corner of the kasbah)
9. Unlike some of the bigger or more tourist-oriented cities in Morocco, Rabat is a very livable city, with a more moderate cost of living. Shops, restaurants, cafes, and even apartments are all reasonably-priced, and it's easy to have an affordable or even cost-free afternoon filled with things to see and do.
10. Fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat can always be found at the markets around the city, as well as a delicious and colorful variety of spices. Some even say that the fruit here is tastier and more flavorful than in other, more Western countries! And Rabat’s coastal status also provides for fresh fish year-round.
We hope you choose Rabat and Qalam wa Lawh for your study abroad experience. Marhababikoum!