8 Differences Between a Moroccan Lifestyle and an American Lifestyle

Authored By:

Elizabeth M.

At this point, I've been living in Morocco for about 3 months and I've noticed so many similarities, but I've also noticed differences; some good, some bad. So, here it goes.

Family Oriented. Moroccan families are traditionally very close-knit and they do everything together. They know a lot about each family member because they share everything and they also know a lot about their neighbors and coworkers. 

Gossip. I've heard my fair share of gossip in the short time I've been here. This kind of gossip, though, isn't out of malice, but simply out of curiosity. Women will talk for hours and hours about their kids and their friends and their friends friends. The more you know, I guess.

Work to Live. I noticed pretty quickly that Moroccans tend to only be worried about today. They only need enough money for today, enough food for today, and enough water for today. When I was in Marrakech, two of the other teachers bought a handmade lamp from a man in the souks and then we continued walking into the souk. On our way out 20 minutes later, we noticed that he had already closed up shop as he had made the money he needed to for the day. It was as simple as that.

Meals. They tend to be grazers in that they'd rather eat a few small meals than 3 regularly sized meals. But when food is available to eat, a true Moroccan would encourage you to eat until you are stuffed. Meal portions are often a little smaller than what I was used to having in the U.S. Don't get me wrong though...if you put a 36 inch dish heaping full of steaming couscous in front of 10 Moroccans, it will be gone...in an hour...and I'd be willing to bet money on it!

Environmentalism. There is little to no regard for the environment as far as littering goes. As a Moroccan, it would be perfectly normal to be walking on the sidewalk and throw an empty Coca-Cola bottle down and keep on walking. This notion is evolving and behavior is changing, but there is always more that can be done!

Customer Service. In comparison to the U.S., it's basically non-existent; from a restaurant to a shop to a store. No matter what you say, you, the customer are always wrong. Try to get use to it as quickly as you can!

Punctuality. There is no rush...on anything. Unless it is a special occasion, everything is done last minute. I've heard of families that ask for wedding RSVPs the same day as the wedding. Forward-thinking planning is rare and Moroccans operate on the assumption that everything will work out later. It's always super frustrating as an American, but I'm learning to work with it.

McDonalds. You might be wondering why I am talking about McDonalds in a culture blog post, but I’ve learned that McDonalds is THE place to be. It is generally an indicator of social status and students will brag about how often they go to McDonalds. Prices are very similar to the U.S. dollar which makes it relatively expensive and thus the cool place to be. For example, a Big Mac meal is about 70 MAD, which translates to be about $7.50 USD. But I can go to a local sandwich shop and get a sandwich, fries, and a drink for 20 MAD or $2.14. It's all your preference, but sometimes I just want some McNuggets!

I am sure I'll learn more in the coming months, but this is what I've seen so far!

Stay Searching My Friend,