FAQs about Peace Corps in Morocco
From Peace Corps Wiki
How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Morocco?
Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds this allowance. The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The authorized baggage allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight allowance of 70 pounds for any one bag.
Peace Corps Volunteers are not permitted to take pets, weapons, explosives, mace, radio transmitters, automobiles, motorcycles, or motor scooters to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, or aerosol containers.
What is the electric current in Morocco?
If you have electricity and it works, the current is 220 volts, 50 cycles. Since there are surges and cuts in power that put a strain on voltage converters and appliances, bring good-quality items. The Peace Corps does not provide transformers. We recommend CD or tape players that use âDâ batteries because âCâ batteries are a little harder to find. âAAâ as well as watch and calculator batteries are easy to find, but their quality is sometimes questionable.
How much money should I bring?
Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover their expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and ATM cards are preferable to cash and travelerâs checks. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.
When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from your country director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.
Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects. Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers are cautioned not to ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.
Do I need an international driverâs license?
Volunteers in Morocco do not need to get an international driverâs license because they are prohibited from operating any motorized vehicles while in Morocco. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks and lots of walking. If you rent a car while on vacation outside Morocco or any other Peace Corps country, however, you will need the appropriate driverâs license.
What should I bring as gifts for Moroccan friends and my host family?
As you will be staying with two different homestay families, gifts for the children are greatly appreciated but should not be large or elaborate. Some gift suggestions include pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes, souvenirs from your state, hard candies that will not melt or spoil, games, or photos to give away.
Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until the last few weeks of Pre-Service Training. This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each traineeâs technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with ministry counterparts. Many factors influence the site selection process and the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages and are usually less than an hour from another Volunteer. Some sites require more than a 15-hour drive from the capital. Come with the attitude that you are here to serve Morocco and not a particular geographic region.
How can my family contact me in an emergency?
The Peace Corpsâ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580; select option 2, then extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For non-emergency questions, your family can get information from the Morocco desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580, extension 2421 or 2422.
Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
There are businesses that offer Internet access in most towns in Morocco. Because of weaker telephone and electrical infrastructure in outlying areas, however, Volunteers posted to rural sites may be limited to sending and receiving e-mail on their occasional visits to larger towns or regional hubs. Before leaving the United States, many prospective Volunteers sign up for free e-mail accounts, such as those offered by Yahoo or Hotmail, which they can access worldwide.
Because of the high value of laptops, owners significantly increase their risk of becoming a victim of crime. Additionally, you will not find the same level of technical assistance and service in Morocco as you would at home and replacement parts can take months to arrive. Also note that gaining Internet access via a laptop is only a remote possibility because very few Volunteers have telephone lines in their home or adequate lines at their workplace. If you bring a laptop, be sure to bring a high-quality surge protector, as electrical lapses and surges are common.