The minor “Culture and Society in Morocco” at NIMAR contains a fieldwork period of approximately one month. During this period, we did our research on the meaning of the huge number of street cats in Rabat. It is a fun experience to actually go “into the field” by speaking to people and ask about their opinions and experiences. In my opinion, this is the way to go if you really want to understand a culture better. You will not get the same ideas and notions from just reading books or articles. Sometimes it might feel a little strange or uncomfortable to just go about and speak to a person you do not know, but after a while it really is enjoyable and a good learning experience.
A think to keep in mind during the fieldwork is the language barrier, but this should not be a problem as you learn the beginning parts of Darija or French during the minor. During our research on the street cats we asked a Moroccan to translate our questions in Darija during the interview, but do not hesitate to use the Darija words you know as well. In my experience people tend to like it when I try to use their language and that creates a comfortable environment for having a discussion. An obstacle we have experienced during our fieldwork was that people were not responding very quickly or did not share the same notion of “time management” as we did. Moroccans have completely different ideas about time and planning; everything is relaxed and, it seems, nobody is ever rushed. This makes living in Morocco quite enjoyable, but like I said it can be an obstacle in your research as well.
After all, I really liked doing fieldwork and, as a student of cultural anthropology. I believe it adds well to my bachelor. The bachelor of Anthropology does not contain an option to go abroad and therefore I am glad this minor gave me the opportunity to go abroad anyway and conduct fieldwork in a completely new and different environment. Something that is also good to keep in mind if you are planning to do the minor next year, is that your research proposal is just a guideline. You will always end up with different data than you would have expected and that’s not something to worry about at all; in the end anthropology is all about investigating and finding cultural and/or social patterns. To conclude, I liked fieldwork because it provided me the opportunity to apply what I have learned during my bachelor in a completely different cultural environment. For this Morocco is a very fitting country because, apart from the language barrier and cultural differences, people are often very willing to talk to you and to have a conversation.