I will never forget my high school days! During those days I’ve had so much fun in my mathematics, history, science, physics, philosophy classes also spanish, chemistry, french, art classes… well to sum up, I made sure I had fun in every course and hour spent there to forget the pressure of the exams and be positive with both students and teachers: we kept the good mood until the end. In March 2011, my class has been proposed to take part of an exchange program with students from Belgium. I definitely agreed to do this and was among the first to apply! I was very interested and excited to be the host of students in my country and next month be in their country for new experiences.
This exchange has been one of my highlights in 2011. I enjoyed this kind of cultural exchange that lead to some amazing friendships. In April 2011, we first met as strangers… as for now we are still friends!
All started with an application where I stated some basic information to introduce myself. Then, I had to pick up later the student I wanted to host for a week in Casablanca and he would host me for a week in Belgium later. I picked a student who stated in his application his interest in travelling. It was very clear that I wanted someone with similar interests. My other classmates picked up their guests as well according to different criteria and preferences.
A week later and due to the magical world of Facebook, we already knew each other… The Moroccan side was composed of 8 students (including me) and the Belgian side of 8 students. Less than a month later, with all excitement and joy we had to welcome our European guests in our families. We all met in Casablanca’s Mohamed V Airport to greet them, it felt like we already knew each other well but we still needed an ice-breaker! The first contact was great, I took my guest home where I made sure he felt good there. We had a dinner out in a sandwich place called ‘Le Bon Regal’ a very nice place where I usually eat or get delivery at home… I believe that they make the best sandwiches in my area. My favourite sandwich is Chicken Sausage! Very delicious…
Anyway, I got far talking about food… The first day started with a presentation of our school and a visit of Casablanca’s main landmark Hassan II Mosque. A huge mosque just on the coast of the city, between the Corniche and the Port. Its minaret is the highest building in the city dominating the whole skyline alongside the Twin Center. Moreover, the minaret is the tallest in the world. The mosque is the biggest in the world (except Saudi Arabia’s holy mosques).
The next day was a day out in the nature… we’ve visited an ecological farm few miles away from Casablanca and we had lunch in a fish specialised restaurant in Dar Bouazza a small town in the suburbs of the city. Following our lunch which I felt like it was a great ice-breaker, we had a surf and body-board course on the Atlantic Coast. The weather was not good but still we had fun learning new skills and swimming in the beach.
On the third day, we’ve taken our coach for a day trip to Marrakech the touristic city of the kingdom. The Red city is just 2h30min away from Casablanca by car, it is easy to reach it by train, by car or by coach. We started our visits in an other ecological farm before heading to the city centre and starting with Jardins Majorelle a nice garden that is part of Yves Saint Laurent’s house. His house is the only blue building in the whole city as Marrakech is well-known as the Red city because all buildings are red. Yves Saint Laurent made the exception! Following our visit in Jardins Majorelle, we’ve taken our way towards the Atlas Mountains and stopped in a village for a lunch and a break to breath from the heat. As an end to our day trip, we stopped in Marrakech’s main attraction Jamae Lfna Square one of the most vibrant squares in the world! Our groups split here to complete a tour of the Medina quickly… I’ve taken in charge my guest to avoid loosing him among all the people and tourists. After one hour of visiting the square and the Old Town, we’ve taken the coach back to Casablanca but before we stopped for an ice-cream and quick pictures in front of the Koutoubia Mosque.
The fourth day was much relax… Our guests had an introduction to arabic language and islamic culture. Meanwhile, we had a chemistry class… it was not really fun! At night, I’ve taken my guest to experiment the Hamman also known as Moroccan Spa or Turkish Bath. It was a good way to erase our dirty skin in a steam room while getting a special massage. We slept quietly and got ready for the next day!
Friday is the couscous day in Morocco but this friday was more about the end of our exchange week… Indeed, on sunday our guests will fly back home and we will see them again in a month! On this fifth day of the week, we’ve taken the coach again to Rabat, the capital city of the Kingdom of Morocco. Once there, we started our visits in the Old Town of Rabat and a tea just in front of the ocean. The visits of the day included Hassan Tower, the Mausoleum of Mohammed V and Chellah ruins. This day was the hottest of the whole week so we didn’t miss the opportunity to start a water fight to refresh ourselves!
Saturday! Party and party! We spent the sixth day at one of the moroccan participants home, swimming and playing sport or card games! We had fun at his swimming pool. At night, me and my mum were the hosts of a Moroccan Party in my home. We dressed all in traditional clothes to give a deeper impression of our culture to our guests. A band played music and we made a two course meal for dinner. It was truly a nice evening and a great party that some of our guests described as the best party they’ve ever been to!
The last day of our exchange ended in sunday, our guests had their plane around 1pm. We’ve taken them back to the airport and by surprise we felt a deep emotion and a connexion has been made between all of us. Cries, hugs and kisses… well, we just kissed them good bye and said “See you in a month!”
Indeed, we’ve seen them a month later although this time in Belgium. I will write soon about our adventures in the French region of Wallonia and Brussels the capital of Europe.