Morocco, Study Abroad — The North Star Reports – by Bao Vang. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal
[A shot I captured of the sunset in the desert]
Traveling the world is one of my favorite thing to do in life. I have traveled to multiple states in the U.S. and twice outside the U.S. In 2008, I was given the opportunity to travel to London for a club trip to observe the school system in London. Just recently, in December 2014, I traveled abroad to study the global business in Casablanca, Morocco with twenty students from The College of Saint Scholastica. My experience in Morocco has widened my interest on international business and how each country markets their business. During my study abroad time, I visited five major companies that were very successful in Morocco. Each company explained their main purpose as a company and how they market their business brand differently from competitors. I was also able to experience the Moroccan culture and food during my study abroad.
[Photo of CSS students and me at the Sahara Coffee Plant in Casablanca, Morocco.]
[Silos at Cargill in Casablanca, Morocco.]
One of my favorite company we visited was Cargill. If you don’t know, Cargill was founded in Minnesota and it’s headquarter is located in Wayzata, MN. We were given the chance to climb up the stairs in between the two big silos. The view from the top was breathtaking because you could see the whole city all at once. Furthermore, we were also able to witness all the process of how each station operated within the company to make it successful in Morocco.
[Three CSS students and me posing in front the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco.]
Another amazing site we visited was one of the largest mosques in the world, the Hassan II Mosque. The mosque is located right by the Atlantic Ocean, which creates a nice breeze throughout the mosque. We were able to go on a tour inside the mosque to see the architecture design within the building. One of my favorite things about the mosque was the way in which the carpets were laid throughout the mosque. According to our tour guide, the carpets were some of the finest in morocco and very expensive.
[Four performers on stage playing Moroccan music.]
We got to watch multiple performances one night; a band of four performed traditional Moroccan music while belly-dancers and a magician were on stage. One thing I want to point out in this photo is the design in the back wall. These beautiful designs were on many buildings in Morocco and most of the buildings have these designs throughout the walls and the ceiling. All the designs were always amazing to look at; the pattern goes together making your eyes move throughout the whole inner structure of the building.
Lastly, for the first time in my life, I was able to experience what it was like to ride a camel and sleep in the desert overnight. This was one of my most memorable experiences on the study abroad. It was a whole new experience but also an eye-opener to how Moroccans use their environment to make business. Instead of using typical camping tents, the tents in the desert were all made of thick carpets to form a tent-like-structure. Since the temperature gets really cold at night, the thick carpets help provide warm temperature within the tent.
[A shot I captured of CSS students watching the sunrise in the desert]
This one of the last things I experienced before my study abroad in Moroccan ended. The sunrise was breathtaking and a beautiful sight to see. All in all, there were many other events in the study abroad that I experienced but these were the main highlights of it. My experience in Morocco not only opened my knowledge on the international business but it also allowed me to see the Moroccan culture and lifestyle.
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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:
The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Norway, northeastern China, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.
Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.
Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.
(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu
22 responses to “Morocco, Study Abroad — The North Star Reports – by Bao Vang. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal”
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Woah, Morocco looks like quite a different environment than Saint Scholastica! Did you ever fear of getting lost, either in the desert or in the cities? I don’t think of myself as brave enough to study abroad, but it sure looks like an experience. What’s the longest amount of continuous time you’ve spent studying abroad, and what is your favorite foreign country?
I had no idea that a business centered in Minnesota operated in Morocco. It really makes the world seem just a little smaller. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to travel outside the country yet. Morocco looks like a beautiful place I wouldn’t be opposed to visiting some day.
It is pleasurable to see the contrasts between opportunities of foreign countries and the United States, but at the same time seeing the similarities. An advantage of the study abroad program is that it is planned out for the most part allowing for the important sites to be hit. The downfall is the limited time to fully explore the country if you can combat any forms of homesickness. I thought your excursion out into the desert was quite admirable, in a way I’m intimidated by deserts based on my lack of experience in them, only to relying on movies, texts, and stories told about the wandering men and women that never found their way. One great thing that I have observed about the study abroad program is that no matter where you go you are safe but at the same time pushed out of your comfort zone. The more I read about the trips the more I would love to participate and push my comfort zone.
What a great opportunity for you to further your knowledge of businesses over seas! Were the working conditions different at all in Morocco, compared to those here in the U.S.? Also, were you told any specific prices of the rugs you were able to look at? The trip seems like it was a lot of fun and is something that I am hoping will be available for me to look into going on in the future. Thanks for sharing your experience for us all to see.
That really sounds like a great trip! I really enjoy traveling as well but I have never been able to get out of the U.S. Where else would you be interested in traveling overseas? I think I would really enjoy learning about the culture over on that side of the world. Also, what was it like seeing a business that was formed in Minnesota all the way across the world in Morocco?
I don’t think I could ever spend the night in the desert. I would get paranoid and think something poisonous would come out at night. I give you props for doing that though! What would be your next place to visit?
Sounds like a great experience! I found the presence of Cargill, a Minnesota-based company, in Morocco to be quite interesting. A strong example of globalization. What benefit did the presence of silos in Morocco have on the company? What other Minnesota connections did you find?
I would love to know more about the culture in Morocco! I didn’t realize it got that cold at night there. I hope to participate in a Study Abroad program and was wondering if you had any tips or advice. I’ve only been out of the country once. Thank you!
Thank you for sharing your experiences in Morocco. Clearly, the study abroad opportunity offered a new perspective on what “business” looks like internationally. Your visit to the Cargill plant must have been a perfect, tangible example of globalization. Do you have plans to visit Morocco again? Your pictures turned out wonderfully.
Studying abroad is always such an eye opening experience. You’re forced to take a step back and learn about a different culture and society through different eyes than you would within a class room. What was it like learning about a Minnesotan company on a different part of the earth? Were you able to see any familiarities to how our society functions?
Your experience sounds absolutely amazing. It’s so cool that you visited Cargill, as having a place so close to home and finding it so far from home must have been a great feeling. Did the world seem a little bit smaller after visiting Cargrill? I hope to someday encounter something like that! Thanks for sharing and your pictures make me want to go to Morocco!
Sounds like you had such a wonderful experience. I have heard Morocco is beautiful but your pictures definitely make me believe it. Did you find that business was run very different in Moroccan-run business’ than in the United States? If so, how? I loved the way you wrote about Morocco and your pictures were very lovely.
I am so jealous of your trip! I’ve personally applied to work in the Peace Corps in Morocco and I’m crossing my fingers! I was surprised to read that a MN company had a base here, talk about globalization. Was it scary riding a camel? I feel like it would be really hard to ride one..
Bao! Your article was a joy to read. Having also attended this trip is was awesome to be reminded of your awesome photography that highlighted the trip so wonderfully. I hope you get more opportunities to travel in the future and that you continue to post what you capture with your camera. 🙂
Wow what an exciting adventure! It’s amazing how a company that started in Minnesota has operations based in Morocco. You seemed to be blessed with a lot of opportunities to learn about the wonderful culture of Morocco. Were the magicians any good?Were you scared when you spent the night in the desert? Just the thought of that gives me the chills plus it does seem exciting. That is awesome that you could end your trip with that awesome sunrise. Awesome pictures and Great Article!
Traveling abroad sounds like a very exciting and interesting experience. Morocco is one place I would have never of thought of to travel too, your experience sounds amazing. Visiting companies that are product giants and were not founded there would be very cool. Hearing how you got to experience their culture and travel through the desert just makes me want travel even more. Thanks for sharing!
The pictures you took of the desert and mosque were absolutely beautiful! I can’t even imagine how amazing it would have been to experience them in person. Riding a camel must have been really cool too! I had actually never heard of Cargill before (even though it is very close to home) until reading this article. I had to look it up on Google to see what the company was. Are you planning on working in international business? If so, do you think you will have the opportunity to return to Morocco someday?
I find it really interesting that a business with a headquarters in Minnesota operates in Morocco as well. It just shows the increasingly interconnectedness of our growing world.
In this article, I also really liked how you combined the modern side of Morocco to the traditional side of the country. When traveling, I feel like tourists sometimes forget that both sides are at play when visiting a country, not just one. Thank you for sharing this experience! Reading articles like this really helps me push myself out of my comfort zone so I may be able to possibly travel one day.
I would really like to study abroad someday, and Morocco is a place I would be interested in visiting! The first picture of the sun setting with all of the camels is absolutely gorgeous. How cool that you were able to visit a place with a connection to Minnesota! I think it is interesting how cold the desert can get after the sun goes down. Hopefully the tents were able to keep everyone warm. Thanks for sharing!
Like you, I love travelling and Morocco is one country that it at the top of my list of ideal destinations. It was really wonderful to see pictures and hear about your experiences within the beautiful country. What do you think was the hardest part of being within Morocco? Was there a language barrier at all? What did you love most about the adventure?