This past week I visited the beautiful country of Morocco. Upon arrival, our Airbnb host offered to pick us up from the airport and served us some tea as he gave us advice relevant to our stay. The advice was immensely appreciated because we were a large group of American tourists in a very foreign environment. I wanted to ensure that we were very respectful of Moroccan culture and we were informed of how things work there. Of course, things operate very differently in Morocco. The first shock was that you needed to bargain for everything from the goods sold in the Souk to the taxis. The idea of haggling was very new to me and so I was not very successful. On top of that, it was difficult to communicate with the locals because they had a greater understanding of Arabic and French rather than Spanish and English. Luckily, one of my friends grew up in France and spoke French fluently which helped break down the language barrier.
Another contrast between Morocco and the United States is that they have constitutional monarch that practices Islam. In turn, they have a very conservative culture that is evident as you walk through the streets. We tried our best to be culturally aware and respectful by dressing conservatively and following cultural norms. This stark contrast was very eye-opening and it really highlighted the freedom that we have in the United States.
Visiting Morocco was definitely one of the best experiences thus far. As I embarked on my journey, I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised with a site of beautiful landscapes, detailed architecture, delicious food, harmonious music, and welcoming people. It was not an easy place to travel to consider the cultural differences but our open-mindedness was extremely helpful. This experience really helped me become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I truly believe that seeking discomfort is the best way to grow as an individual.