Editor’s note: View a full photo album of the trip here.
When 17 of our Robinson College of Business international business and marketing students traveled on a two-week study abroad program to Morocco, some of them faced a few firsts: First time outside the country, first time on a plane, or first time in Africa.
The program consisted of lectures offered by professors at ESCA, the Casablanca-based management institute which was the local partner institution for this program. In addition, Georgia State University students had the opportunity to visit Moroccan businesses including DARI, the small, but global couscous maker, and the Casablanca Stock Exchange. The students also had visits and presentations by global companies present in Morocco including Air Liquide, the French multinational, and U.S.-based GE and 3M.
The itinerary also included rich cultural components. Students visited the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, the only one of its kind in the Arab wWorld, the Hassan II Mosque, considered a modern architectural marvel, and the famous Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Rabat. The fabled city of Marrakech was also on the itinerary, where the students had the opportunity to experience camel rides on their first day in the country.
Students were delighted to learn that both Jennifer Lopez and Usher were in Morocco around the same time and visited some of the same landmarks.
One of the most important aspects of the program, though, is the interaction between the GSU students and their counterparts at ESCA. The American and Moroccan students had the opportunity to visit sites together and meet socially in the evenings. Attending a student-led talent show was not on the program, but was certainly a nice addition to it. Performances included poetry, rap in both French and Arabic, and jazz music performance.
For many, visiting Morocco was a life-changing experience that opened students’ minds to other cultures, especially those that are lesser known or understood. They are thankful for having earned scholarships that included the Coca-Cola First Generation scholarship, AJC International scholarship, the Kortney Easterly Cosmopolitan Scholarship, and others.
Mourad Dakhli is an associate professor of international business at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business.