How to adapt to the local culture in Casablanca

Adjusting to the Casablanca culture
Updated 2022-07-13 13:16

Casablanca is, above all, a mythical city with a diverse culture. With many visitors and expats traveling there all year round, you should not find it hard to adapt there. However, is here to help you adjust to your new environment, especially if you are relocating to Casablanca from a Western country.

The language in Casablanca

While French is omnipresent in Casablanca, other languages are also quite widespread. While you will even be greeted and welcomed in French in small shops and traditional working-class neighborhoods, avoid taking it for granted, though. In some neighborhoods that are popular with expat communities, the common language will help you to communicate clearly at all levels. Still, it is best to learn the local language if you're planning to make an extended stay.

Moroccan economic elites who are often based in Casablanca, in addition to Rabat, speak French or English fluently in a surprising way, sometimes even better than classical Arabic. However, Arabic and Islam remain the local culture.

The dialects in Casablanca

If you have the means, learning Darija is a vital step to adapting to the Moroccan culture. Darija is the Moroccan dialect, derived from Arabic, with bits of Spanish, French, and German. It is the common language used in the street and spoken on television and radio. However, the local press is in classical Arabic and/or French. Darija is the language that will help you adapt more easily to Casablanca. Speaking a few words can bring a smile to the face of the people you are talking to, and, in return, they will be more than eager to help you.

Religion in Casablanca

This can lead to difficulties in understanding each other or living in harmony once you have settled in. It's worth noting that Morocco gives a greater significance to religion than any secular European society. While you don't need to be formal, it's best to be aware of the importance of religion in a diverse city like Casablanca.

On Fridays, for example, all the activities in the country stop at prayer time. During the holy month of Ramadan, most restaurants are closed during the day (it is even the best time for food shops, such as cafés or restaurants, to carry out renovation work). However, some institutions targeting more international clients stick to their regular working hours.

The lifestyle in Casablanca

Adapting to the Moroccan culture, even in a city like Casablanca, is, above all, about learning to be patient. The pace of life is slower than in any comparable European city in terms of size or economic strength. In Casablanca, everything is much slower as you always have time for everything.

The cost of living in Casablanca

Adjusting to the local culture also means learning to eat differently. Foreign products are available, even if good cheese or bread for the French is more difficult to find. But for that privilege, you will also need a significant budget in Casablanca. You cannot hope to have a Western lifestyle in Casablanca with less than 3500 Dhs per month for a couple.

Hospitality in Casablanca

Adjusting to the Moroccan culture also means understanding hospitality. In Morocco, you will certainly and naturally be invited over to people's houses. Your friends or co-workers are likely to introduce you to Moroccan cuisine and their way of life, and this is how you will get a better picture of the legendary Moroccan hospitality. You will understand that patience and courtesy are the key factors for peace and harmony. It is easy to keep in touch with everyone, including family and co-workers.

In short, respect cultural differences, observe, and ask questions whenever there is something you don't understand. Moroccans are open-minded people and will never hesitate to share their culture with foreigners.

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