Can you survive living in Morocco with only English? Yes, you can, if you have local friends who are ready to help you. Yet, If you want to immerse yourself in Moroccan life, you should learn Moroccan Arabic (known as Darija). Or, like me, try to master French.
In Morocco, French is one of the most used languages, next to the official ones standard Arabic and Tamazight. However, these official languages are rarely spoken, and almost everyone speaks the Moroccan Arabic dialect called Darija. French is a colonial legacy and used as a second language in administration, banking, commerce, education and industry. However, English is also a popular language and Many Moroccans, especially in tourist cities, speak English.
After my first visit to Morocco, I set myself a task to learn Darija. The challenge of learning the script was a tough one, not to mention writing and reading right-to-left. Soon, I realised to master French will take me less time as I already had some background.
You can live in Morocco without speaking French. However, your employment and life administration options will be very limited. Most employers need French and English knowledge, all contracts and even ads on popular websites will be in French.
If you want to be an independent expat in Morocco, you must speak at least intermediate French. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time on translations which often leads to misinterpretations.
My story of learning French is long and complicated. It started at the Vilnius Academy of Arts, where I studied Art history. Imagine, after 2 years of studying French, I only knew how to say “Bonjour”. I regret being lazy, but the teachers were so boring. Of course, the lack of motivation was an important factor.
Then, some years ago, I attended a French group course in Vilnius, Lithuania. Again, after 3 months of studies, I only learned how to say “au revoir”. Besides, I had private French classes in Amsterdam, the teacher was great, but because of my intense travels, the classes were too irregular.
Honestly, I lost hope to master French. Then, in 2019 July, I decided to give the last try and subscribed for an intense summer course in the same L’Institut Français in Marrakech. The 30 hours course cost only 950 Dh (around 90 euro) and guess what – after finishing it I understand and can speak basic French!
The key to success was the amazing and experienced teacher, Mr Ait Baaya, forcing us to speak from the very first day. We almost didn’t study grammar, it came into our heads. His philosophical conversations about learning French and stories about Morocco were incredible. He made me believe that good and devoted teachers still exist.
Now, I am so happy being able to make an appointment with the doctor, hairdresser, accountant and my only Darija and French-speaking drivers.
Of course, it is not enough to attend a course to master French. You need to practise daily and talk talk talk… My next step is to continue the French course and practise as much as possible.
DREAMING ABOUT MOROCCO?
I CAN HELP YOU:
- Travel consultations;
- Travel itineraries;
- 24/7 hotline;
- Drivers, transport, guides, activities etc
- Shared tours for budget travellers;
- Assistance in events/photoshoots;
- Consultations for foreigners moving to Morocco.
* GIVE ME A FREE CALL!
Don’t know where to start? Not sure if you need my help? Have the itinerary and only want to book a guide or driver? Or simply want to say hi and ask how is the weather in Morocco? Let’s arrange a free call/chat!
My contact is here!