Rabat, Morocco Report of what it's like to live there - 08/29/17
Personal Experiences from Rabat, Morocco
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
This was our fourth diplomatic post.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
All flights to Rabat connect through Paris on Air France.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Most families live in houses, with decent size gardens. Commute time for us is about 15 minutes.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Groceries are inexpensive, especially if you buy produce that is in season, availability of products is decent.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Bacon and wine?
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Pizza takeout is easy and plentiful
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
We do not use the local post.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Approximately 20USD per day for a housekeeper that cooks.
3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Credit cards are widely accepted. I know of several ATM skimming incidents.
4. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
Basic French definitely helps.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Local taxis are cheap and there is an uber type option.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Your car will be dinged and scratched after a couple of years.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Fiber-optic internet is fast and reliable.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Local providers are adequate.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
Decent veterinary care is available.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Women tend to be harassed when moving about on their own.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Local care is adequate but not great.
3. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
Expat morale is not great.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
Please do your homework if you have school aged children. Rabat American School is sub-par, at best. We had major issues with the high school and I know of several families that have departed or the mother and children have left because of the school. IB results for 2016 and 2017 were disappointing and there is a general lack of respect and interest both among teachers and students in the high school.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
None that I am aware of.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Morale is low among expats, something we were very surprised by. Community is very small, especially the English-speaking community.
2. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
No, homosexuality is illegal in Morocco. Even unmarried opposite-sex couples can have difficulties renting hotels/traveling together.
3. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Great access to Spain!
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
No, we would have accepted a different posting.