Studying Abroad in Morocco

When I was deciding where to attend college, I knew I wanted a science-focused school close to home with global education opportunities. I assumed being on a Pre-Med track could make studying abroad impossible. I wondered how I was going to take rigorous science classes, work, volunteer, gain clinical exposure, shadow, and have time to study abroad. Luckily, I came across UNE in my college search and found out about their campus in Morocco. Now, as I sit here writing this post from Tangier, I have no doubt in my mind I made the right choice to attend UNE!

Preparing to Study Abroad

Originally, my plans for studying abroad were for the spring semester of my sophomore year, which was spring of 2021. I met with my advisor often to ensure I was staying on track with my Neuroscience / Pre-Med major and leaving certain classes to take in Morocco, including Physics 2, Organic Chemistry 2, Arabic 101, and English 300. My best friend was also going abroad that semester, so we planned to have the same schedule and travel on the weekends together. Everything was aligning!

Unfortunately, the on-going pandemic forced restrictions again on international travel, and my semester abroad was cancelled weeks from our scheduled departure. My heart was shattered — I had been anticipating this trip for over two years, but I understood the decision. I turned my attention to figuring out how I could still study abroad before I graduated.

After many Zoom calls and meetings with my pre-health advisor and academic advisor, we finally found a new semester for me to go to Morocco — fall of my junior year. I had already front loaded my first two years of college with as many classes as possible, so I had more flexibility in my schedule to move things around. Even with that flexibility, there were significant factors to consider, including making sure I will have all my pre-requisite classes done before the end of junior year, so I have time to study and prepare to take the MCATs. Thankfully, we figured it out, and here I am writing this post from Morocco! 

Every major has a recommended semester to go abroad, and you can work with your advisor to make a plan for the time that works best for you!

Why Morocco?

Choosing Morocco over studying in other countries came easily for me; however, at UNE, we are fortunate to have opportunities to spend semesters in Iceland (Akureyri and Reykjavík), Spain, and France. UNE also offers a variety of travel courses.

Morocco offers our own campus, UNE professors, science classes, labs, volunteering opportunities, and a group of 30+ UNE students to travel and learn with. For me, Morocco provided everything I was looking for in a study abroad program: science courses, labs, volunteering opportunities, exposure to African culture, and the ability to graduate on time. When it came time to finally travel abroad, I felt ready to immerse myself in a new culture and prove to myself that after three years of hard work and turmoil, there was more to life than studying.

Life in Morocco

During my time abroad, I’m learning how to be more accepting of different cultures. Living in a foreign country with language barriers, different religions, many cultures, and lots of strangers helps educate me on how different people live around the world. I am learning and experiencing new things everyday. Even though I have not been in Morocco for very long, I already have a greater appreciation for the world and deeper desire to travel to as many countries as possible. 

The courses here help you communicate with the locals, explore, gain experience outside of the classroom, and learn as much about this beautiful country as possible.

I feel like I am living in a dream every day — living in a reality I never deemed possible during COVID and experiencing things some people never do. I am cherishing every day here and living in the present, soaking in every second.

I am learning how I want to treat my future patients and communicate through language barriers. This experience makes me want to learn as many languages as possible to communicate with people all over the world.

Learning about Morocco, being proactive with schoolwork to allow time for travel, letting go more, being spontaneous, saying yes to new experiences, volunteering, and making new friends are goals I set going into this semester in Morocco. So far, I feel as though I am succeeding!

Being in a place you once dreamed of is overwhelming, bittersweet, and truly magnificent. I wholeheartedly believe that my experiences here will shape me into the person I want to become, help me empathize with my future patients, recharge my batteries to continue learning, and allow me appreciate the simpler things in life. All of these lessons will ultimately help me succeed back home in Maine.

Post By:


Grace Curley

B.S. Neuroscience (Pre-Med) ’24

Grace is a Neuroscience (Pre-Med) major at UNE. She is currently studying abroad on UNE’s Tangier, Morocco campus during the fall ’22 semester. Between volunteering, exploring Africa and Europe, and her studies, she is soaking in every moment of living in a new culture. In the future, she plans to take her travel experiences with her as a travel doctor. In her free-time, she enjoys reading, skiing, surfing, and going to the beach.