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Expat in Morocco, a relocation consultancy company for helping English-speaking expats [Interview]

Samia Dif founded in April 2017 a consultancy company to help English-speaking expats in Morocco. Through her project, she assists foreigners through their relocation process, and organizes English-speaking activities for those who feel like a fish out of water

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The Casablanca English comedy club, organized by Expat in Morocco a consultancy company that helps English-speaking expats in Morocco./Ph. Expat in Morocco Facebook

Expat In Morocco, is an initiative that Samia Dif is leading to help English-speaking expats in Morocco. The Dutch national with Moroccan descent, launched the relocation company a year ago to assist foreigners who speak English and want to live in the Kingdom. Her project is under the form of a consultancy company that provides a number of services and activities ranging from what is purely administrative to what is entertaining. In an interview with Yabiladi, Samia spoke about her project, the struggle of English-speaking expats in a country where people mostly speak Arabic or French and the English-Speaking standup comedy show scheduled for the 15th of March in Casablanca.

What is expat in Morocco and why was it created ?

It is a consultancy company for English-speaking expats in Morocco. It focuses, mostly, on English-speaking groups and problems linked to relocating. Meanwhile, the company organizes events to promote English-speaking activities in the country, which are hard to find.

We started back in April after I spoke to a lot of expats who had troubles with relocating. The idea was to help them with the administrative processes. So, I went with them to “Mokataa”, the borough, ANAPEC and assisted them while trying to pay bills. I started receiving calls and there were more expats coming for help. We launched the relocation company and eventually changed the name to Expat In Morocco to make it easier for everybody to understand.

What are the services and activities you offer ?

There are not a lot of activities to do for English-speaking expats. And sometimes it is hard to do something, for instance going to the cinema. If you want to watch a movie, an English-speaking expat need to go on a Thursday or during a specific time and I find this unfortunate. My initiative is to make that easier and accessible. We, for example, want to do an English-speaking open air cinema, English-speaking Yoga classes and other activities that may interest Moroccans who speak English too. I hear what people want and seek and try to find a solution.

Is it hard for an English-speaking expat to move to Morocco where Arabic and French are the most spoken languages ?

Yes, it is hard and that is why I do it for them. I have been living in Morocco for three years and I know how it works now. I also know that there are some people who would like to do it their own but it would take them time and energy. To put it in other words, everybody can do it but you just need a lot of time and a lot of energy trying to do it yourself.

Do you think the problems expats deal with are also linked to them trying to adapt to the way things are done here in Morocco ?

Both, it is the language and the obstacles related to the structure. For instance, they have troubles trying to understand how things work in an administrative office. They don’t know when their turn is and sometimes they just stand there not knowing what to do. Sometimes, they tell you to bring two paper works and they ask you to bring three. there is no structure and it is making it more difficult.

Do you think of having an office or a headquarter where you can receive expats in the need of help ?

At the beginning, it was just me and two people and we did not really know what the needs of these people are. Now, I see there are a lot of needs and I get a lot of emails and phone calls, so I definitely consider having a headquarter. My goal is to have an office in every big city in Morocco.

What is the next activity you are working on ?

We are organizing an English-speaking comedy show. It is for English-speaking expats and also for Moroccans who speak English and just want to attend a fun activity by night.

I love comedy, and the first question that comes to my mind when I hear of a comedy show here in Casablanca is whether it is in French or English. I speak a little bit of French, but I can’t laugh at French jokes because I won’t understand it. I can laugh at English-speaking jokes because I love their sarcasm.

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