In Morocco, exoticism is very close. The country is just separated from Europe through the Strait of Gibraltar, but it welcomes visitors with the busy life and historical testimonies of the outlandish world of the orient.
The volunteering and internship options that we offer at the moment in Morocco take place at the coastal city of Tangier and at the picturesque town of Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains.
Travel costs from Europe are extremely low as there are several low cost carriers flying to Tangier from many European cities such as Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Brussels and Cologne.
Languages spoken in Morocco are Darija (a dialect of Arabic which has French influences), French, and to a smaller degree classic Arabic;. Many people have knowledge about Spanish and English. Not for all placements, French language skills are required.
We offer the possibility to take part in language lessons of French, Spanish, Darija and classic Arabic, either as the sole reason for your stay in Tangier or in combination with volunteering/internships.
Up to 1956, Tangier was an "International City" which didn't belong to any country but was administrated by the French, Spanish, British and Italians. Due to its special legal and fiscal status there have not only been numerous eccentric millionaires from all over the world building their opulent villas on the city's 7 hills which still exist today, but Tangier was also a centre for international espionage - the city has been chosen to be the location for two James Bond films. The international atmosphere attracted also famous international writers which made the city blossom for cultural and arts.
The English word "Tangerine" by the way is derived from the name of this city.
In Tangier you can experience an interesting blend between traditional arabic-islamic life, for instance when being at the historic old town, being in touch with the conservative Muslim middle class, and of course when doing your volunteer work, and European lifestyles. Even today there are many Europeans living in Tangier, particularly Spaniards and French.
Social problems that volunteers will be faced with are the lack of social support for marginalized groups of society such as the disabled and drug users, the problem of single mothers and their children which are rejected from traditional Muslim society, immigration from sub-Saharan Africa, and an increasing number of street children due to the decline of family structures.
Our support and coordination team in Morocco consists of Mrs. Fenna and her mother Fatima who has been the social commissioner of Tangier for over 30 years.
Leisure activities in Tangier
Around Tangier there are several beaches, both on the Atlantic coast and on the Mediterranean coast. You cannot only swim there, but also experience very beautiful sunsets or enjoy fresh fish dishes.
On the airy hills around Tangier there are several places that you can visit. Within a day's reach for instance is the picturesque town of Chefchaoen in the Rif mountains, the historical town of Asilah or the Hercules caves.
Several-day excursions include visits to the imperial cities of Fes, Meknes, Rabat and Marrakech which are hotspots of islamic arts and culture. Also trips to the Sahara desert in the South of the country are popular.
Tangier has a vivid nightlife. Around the waterfront and in the inner city there are numerous restaurants and bars with live music and discotheques which are even crowded on weekdays until the break of dawn.
Further, there are many annual cultural events such as the Tanjazz Festival in June, the Mediterranée Music Festival in July and the Tanja Latina Festival in November.
Chefchaouen (also: Chaouen or Xauen) is beautifully located in a valley, framed by high mountains of the Rif, around 2.5 hours to drive from Tangier.
The town was founded in 1492 when a big number of Muslims and Jews had been expelled from Southern Spain by the Catholic kings. They settled in the Rif mountains in Northern Morocco and started the new town of Chefchaouen which for this reason resembles Andalusian mountain villages. Characteristic for the town is the fact that the ground floors of almost all houses are painted with blue colour which has the aim to protect the house from evil. The "holy city" was inaccessible to all foreigners, only in 1932 the first European Christian ever entered the town.
Today Chefchaouen is a hotspot of alternative tourism. Whereas in the past years, the town particularly attracted weed smoking hippies from Spain and France, the region of Chefchaouen is today trying to establish rural and cultural tourism.
The old town of Chefchaouen has a very enchanting atmosphere one can hardly resist. A large number of restaurants, cafés and souvenir shops with low prices are inviting for a stroll and lime out. The woven fabrics from Chefchaouen which are unique and you won't find them at better rates elsewhere in the country. They are being produced by local cooperatives on old manual looms. Behind every corner one will discover new, fascinating views.
Leisure activities in Chefchaouen
The Rif Mountains can count with dramatic landscapes and remote mountain villages of the jibli farmers. There are many opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, observing wildlife etc. In the villages, you can overnight at rural houses and participate in traditional activity such as carving cork, cooking, pottery, weaving, painting henna, baking bread or making cheese.
The beaches of the Mediterranean are only a one hour's drive away; the cities of Tangier and Tetouane can be visited as a day trip, the imperial city of Fes can be reached within 4 hours.
Several-day excursions include Meknes, Rabat and Marrakech, as well as a trip into the Sahara desert in the South of the country.