There are a bunch of small shops lined up the street, and there are always donkeys in the back of the alley. You can find packages of various sizes and colors at the shopfront. The market is always crowded with people. The deep eyes of men in long robes, exotic beauty, unforgettable sweet cakes, refreshing mint tea, Morocco has many traces of history where Islam and Christ culture has been mixed.
Do you know the capital city of Morocco? You may think of the largest commercial city such as Casablanca or Marrakech where the old town is registered as a World Heritage Site. However they are not the capital city. The capital city is Rabat.
The most used language in Morocco is Arabic, followed by French and Spanish. Unfortunately not many people speak English, so those who have no or few commands of Arabic, French and Spanish may face some difficulties in their daily lives.
Rabat is warm in summer and cool in winter. In summer, the temperature rarely rises to over 35 degrees Celsius, and in winter, the temperature rarely drops to below freezing, so it can be said that living in Rabat is rather comfortable.
In Morocco, there is a national railway that connects major cities from Rabat. There are first-class cars with reserved seats and second-class cars with non-reserved seats, and the quality is comparable to that of European trains, but the problem is that it does not run on time.
Royal Air Morocco covers air travel between major cities, making long-distance travel between cities easy and quick. In addition, buses and large-sized taxis called grand taxis are also convenient for short-distance travel between cities.
③Buses and Taxis
Buses or taxis are used to move around the city. There are two types of buses: public and private companies. Public buses are reserved and offer high quality services, but at a high price. Private companies are cheaper to use with lower quality of service. A taxi is basically a meter system, but be aware that foreigners may come up with exorbitant prices.
You may wonder which transportation is convenient. Fortunately the trams run in Rabat. The price is 6DH (=about 72 JPY), which is reasonable for each use, and it is one of the important means of transportation for people living in Rabat.
Tickets for trams must be purchased in advance or at the ticket vending machine.. When getting on and off, push the button to open the door. After boarding, you have to stamp the boarding time yourself with the stamping machine installed in the car. Please be careful not to forget the time stamps, as staff members may occasionally check them.
Morocco does not have a Japanese-speaking medical institution, but some hospitals have doctors who are fluent in English. Although medical conditions in rural areas are not very good, as Rabat is the capital city, there are also large hospitals equipped with advanced equipment, and it is possible to receive relatively substantial medical services.
In case of an emergency, you can request an ambulance but you have to pay for it. There are also emergency outpatients support overnight. There is a big difference in the level of medical care between public and private hospitals, so be sure to choose a private hospital if you get sick.
Cost of living
When studying abroad in Rabat, the accommodation would be one of the biggest concerns . A cheap unfurnished apartment can be rented for 20,000 to 30,000 JPY. Furnished and shared student apartments are priced at around 30,000 to 50,000 JPY, so it can be said that the cost of stay is relatively low.
Many international students spend about 10,000 to 20,000 JPY a month on food expenses. As for clothes, a good quality cotton T-shirt costs 1,500 to 3,000 JPY, which is not much different from the purchase price in Japan. The prices of furniture and other items needed for daily living vary greatly depending on the quality, but it seems that you can purchase a desk, chair, closet and bed with a mattress for around 30,000 to 100,000 JPY.
However, the above prices are the prices purchased at a proper “store”. There is a big market in Suika street, which runs through the Medina (old town) of Rabat from east to west, and is full of local people who purchase food, daily necessities and clothing. Smart shopping in the modern new and old towns is a great way to save money.
So where are the Rabat people mainly shopping outside the market? Please refer to the following when studying in Rabat.
①Frying pans, household goods, etc… Malls such as Carrefour, Marjane
② Clothes…Mega Mall, Rabat Center, Agdal stores
③ Furniture…Kitea Store
However, these shops are not close to your home, so locals may use taxis or trams.
Rabat has many schools where you can study French and Arabic. The price of a language school is about 80,000 to 150,000 JPY a month but differs depending on the course content and length. In addition to language learning, some schools offer internships, volunteer programs and programs to learn Moroccan traditions and culture.
Universities in Rabat use either Arabic or French, with few programs in English. The annual tuition of a national university is about 1 million yen, which is about the same as a private university in Japan.
Rabat is located at the mouth of the Bregley River in the northwest, at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and together with Marrakesh, Meknes and Fes, is known as Morocco’s four imperial cities. During Ramadan, many tourists visit royal palaces to see the sights.
Rabat is no exception. Rabat is recognized as a World Heritage Site as a city where modern and old towns coexist with the world of Europe and Islam. I will introduce the highlights of Rabat.
① Royal Palace of Muhammad VI
The palace is solemnly dressed as a symbol of the city’s political facade. The road in front of the gate is straight and wide, and at the gates of the palace, the police officers who are dressed in uniforms and guarded are overwhelming. The current palace was actually restored in 1864 from the old palace. Strictly protected, this beautiful palace is worth a visit.
② Kasbah of the Udayas
Located on the north side of the old town, Kasbah of the Udayas is a district that was built as a fortified city in the 17th century under the Mwahid period. Passing through the majestic walls, you will find houses with vivid walls painted in white and blue. In addition, there is garden which is considered as one of the masterpieces of the Andalusian garden. You can also enjoy tthe view of the emerald green sea from the observatory boasts. You will be amazed by the beautiful scenery.