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Old Sep 10th 2017, 1:25 pm   #1
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Default Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

I'm an Irish expatriate in Paris, and my wife and I would like to relocate to a country in the Muslim world. Although the UAE and Qatar have the most money to be made, we don't want to live a lifestyle cut off from local culture, which seems common there. So, we are considering either Istanbul or a city in Morocco (Marrakech, Fes, Tangier, Casablanca are all under consideration), she's also mentioned Malaysia, which I am open to as well.

Just like to hear any different comments about these destinations. We don't have children yet, but we are expecting our first in 6 months and plan to have 3 more if all goes well.
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Old Sep 10th 2017, 1:42 pm   #2
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

Saudi?
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Old Sep 10th 2017, 2:08 pm   #3
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

Why don`t you just move to Sevran in Paris!!

Turkey, as long as you keep your opinions and political leanings to yourself it is ok!

Morroco is quite a decent place, Atlas mountains are great and easily accessible as an escape from City life.

Malaysia would have to be top of my list, especially with the M2H scheme.
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Old Sep 10th 2017, 2:50 pm   #4
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Saudi?
We plan on going for Hajj in the coming year, but aren't non-Arab foreigners required to live in a compound if you're a full time expat?
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Old Sep 10th 2017, 2:55 pm   #5
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Why don`t you just move to Sevran in Paris!!

Turkey, as long as you keep your opinions and political leanings to yourself it is ok!

Morroco is quite a decent place, Atlas mountains are great and easily accessible as an escape from City life.

Malaysia would have to be top of my list, especially with the M2H scheme.

We don't live far from Sevran, on the Paris side of Le Pré but I would go mad with the CDG aeroplane noise. Anyway, outside of a few areas le 93 isn't a good place for children, the schools are awful, there are no jobs for them to take after school, and the scenery is downright saddening.


What city in Morocco do you recommend? We went on our honeymoon to Tangier and loved it, but haven't been to other places.


What's M2H?
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 4:42 am   #6
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Originally Posted by taistealai View Post
I'm an Irish expatriate in Paris, and my wife and I would like to relocate to a country in the Muslim world. Although the UAE and Qatar have the most money to be made, we don't want to live a lifestyle cut off from local culture, which seems common there. So, we are considering either Istanbul or a city in Morocco (Marrakech, Fes, Tangier, Casablanca are all under consideration), she's also mentioned Malaysia, which I am open to as well.

Just like to hear any different comments about these destinations. We don't have children yet, but we are expecting our first in 6 months and plan to have 3 more if all goes well.
Hi Traveller,
Casablanca is good, and perhaps one of the few places in Morocco where an expat might get a meaningful job. Compounds are a choice by the way not mandatory, but are usually chosen to escape the onerous Islamic rules in places like Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar etc..
Don't confuse living in local squalor as being immersed in the culture
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 4:56 am   #7
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Originally Posted by taistealai View Post
We don't live far from Sevran, on the Paris side of Le Pré but I would go mad with the CDG aeroplane noise. Anyway, outside of a few areas le 93 isn't a good place for children, the schools are awful, there are no jobs for them to take after school, and the scenery is downright saddening.


What city in Morocco do you recommend? We went on our honeymoon to Tangier and loved it, but haven't been to other places.


What's M2H?
I would not be so forward as to recommend a city in Morocco as what I would perceive as great maybe your idea of hell !!! Do your research, and talk to Moroccans where you live (there are enough of them there), to get a real view, or an Islamic view if that is what you are pursuing.

Malaysia M2H Scheme is explained here;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia_My_Second_Home

If you are looking at the Far East have you looked at Indonesia? Kind of covers your wish to be in an Islamic country.

And as Weasel says, do not confuse squalor etc etc
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 6:58 am   #8
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

Malaysia is interesting, it's a wicked place but I found KL to be a very similar sort of place to Dubai. Total focus on malls with a centre-piece that's just a smaller version of Downtown, albeit with very pretty towers.

I wouldn't discount the GCC if it's culture you're after though.

I also don't get it - you're a non-Arab but going on Hajj to Saudi? So you must be Muslim? In which case, what does it matter where you live in Saudi?
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 7:57 am   #9
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

If you want your kids going to an English-speaking school with an international curriculum, I'd say Malaysia is your best option out of those listed.

Education for your kids and access to employment are the main things I'd be considering in your shoes.

Turkey would be low on my list now that all the free-thinking teachers have been purged. Morocco doesn't look like it's overflowing with employment opportunities.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 8:09 am   #10
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

Q> I'd like to live in Morocco or Istanbul, which is better?

A> Malaysia.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 8:28 am   #11
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

A thaistealaí, a chara,

Fáilte roimh an mbored!

With that out of the way (and as this is an English language forum) let me proceed with the customary abuse! I have no comprehension why you would embrace another religion in which you haven't been raised (unless you have been raised a Muslim and then I can at least fathom why you are a follower). But as you are a Muslim I guess, I can kind of understand why you want to live in a Muslim majority country. But be careful as they are a very mixed bag and I have heard many Muslims, who have moved to Europe from elsewhere, say that their new home is a better place to be a Muslim than where they came from.

First, there is still no stable, democratic and free (in the generally accepted sense of the word: press, belief, voting etc) Muslim majority country. Malaysia, Indonesia and, perhaps now, Tunisia come closest but they all have their flaws. Turkey has slipped right off the list. Those little personal freedoms can be a large price to pay for feeling less like an outsider. Because you will still be an outsider, albeit of a different kind.

Think very carefully about what you are giving up as well as gaining. For a start, in Muslim countries, religion and state tend to be very intertwined so your mosque and imams give you not just a religious orientation but also whatever happens to be the government line. Depending on what sect or strand of Islam you follow, that could have a very significant impact on your freedom to practice. This goes far deeper and broader than Sunni/Shi'a of course. Sufi practices, for example, are de rigeur in some places and apostasy in others.

Furthermore, going to a majority Muslim country may also set back your chances of going on Hajj significantly as most have very long waiting lists and increasingly restrictive permissions. Also, the Saudi authorities are pretty nakedly racist in their distribution of Hajj permits so you would almost certainly get on a list sooner in Youghal than in Yogyakarta. Latterly I believe Hajj permits for Muslim residents in the Gulf, who are not GCC nationals, have been very difficult to come by. This is unlikely to improve. Even living in the kingdom (and really, you need to consider this option very carefully) might not improve your chances that much.

Quite a lot to think about - giving up living in Europe means giving up a lot more than you might think at first...
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 10:55 am   #12
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

I've lived in Morocco for the past 4 1/2 years, not with my family and in close company with my Korean colleagues. So here's my take, with the caveats you may assume from my circumstances.

Culture: I'm not aware of any western, up-market "ghettos" where you would be isolated from the local culture. There are certainly some up-market residences in Marrakech, but you'd still be in the thick of Moroccan culture.

Language: I assume that since you're currently in France then a Francophone environment would present you with no problems. The majority of the populace have French as their second language, while the better-educated have English also. I'm not aware of any English-language schools, but I haven't investigated.

Security: I posted recently (in TIO, I think) about security here, citing a newspaper article. I feel safe here.

Where? For just a couple I imagine most of the major cities would be interesting, although some of the smaller ones (Tangier, Fez and so on) may feel limiting after a while. Casa is a big, chaotic, busy, industrial / commercial city; it certainly has some pleasant residential areas, and if you can both live and work in one of them I'm sure most people would find it enjoyable; work downtown, and your view may change. I'd quite happily live in Marrakech (I much prefer small cities). Agadir tries to be a European resort.

Unless you're rich enough not to work, employment may be your limiting factor. There aren't many well-paid jobs for foreigners here, and you're not taking mine
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 2:35 pm   #13
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Originally Posted by Dubaiexile View Post
I would not be so forward as to recommend a city in Morocco as what I would perceive as great maybe your idea of hell !!! Do your research, and talk to Moroccans where you live (there are enough of them there), to get a real view, or an Islamic view if that is what you are pursuing.

Malaysia M2H Scheme is explained here;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia_My_Second_Home

If you are looking at the Far East have you looked at Indonesia? Kind of covers your wish to be in an Islamic country.

And as Weasel says, do not confuse squalor etc etc

Thank you. Many of my coworkers are Moroccan and I've asked, but just like I would reflexively say Belfast if asked about the best city in Ireland, many people just recommend their hometown or their familial place of origin, which is understandable, but I wanted to get an expatriate opinion, someone with a little less hometown pride/bias to get a more objective view.

Thanks for the link on Malaysia, definitely interesting. We haven't really considered Indonesia, partially out of ignorance, because neither of us know much about the country, but it seems like a harmonious, tropical and altogether pleasant nation.


As for squalor, I have no intention of raising my family in a dangerous, underserved or otherwise bad place. Our preference is for a modest but comfortable community, with a nice mix of social classes and cross sections of society. What we do want to avoid is living in an expatriate ghetto, where there isn't any integration with rest of the country. I find that sort of thing to be terribly rude, I've seen 'in here, but not of here' residential behaviour from people in my native city and here in France and I do not like it.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 2:41 pm   #14
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Malaysia is interesting, it's a wicked place but I found KL to be a very similar sort of place to Dubai. Total focus on malls with a centre-piece that's just a smaller version of Downtown, albeit with very pretty towers.

I wouldn't discount the GCC if it's culture you're after though.

I also don't get it - you're a non-Arab but going on Hajj to Saudi? So you must be Muslim? In which case, what does it matter where you live in Saudi?

We aren't Arabs, the blood in my veins is as Irish as one reasonably can be, and my wife is from the east of France, near Nancy. We are Muslim.


Where we live anywhere matters for the same reason that it matters to anyone else. I'm not opposed to living in Saudi, but I didn't know that we would be allowed to live in a regular house on a regular street in a regular neighbourhood, I thought we would be obliged to live in a compound with other Europeans and Americans, segregated from the native population and non-western foreigners.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 2:59 pm   #15
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Originally Posted by Gavtek View Post
If you want your kids going to an English-speaking school with an international curriculum, I'd say Malaysia is your best option out of those listed.

Education for your kids and access to employment are the main things I'd be considering in your shoes.

Turkey would be low on my list now that all the free-thinking teachers have been purged. Morocco doesn't look like it's overflowing with employment opportunities.

An English speaking school wouldn't be necessary, Francophone schools are fine as well, and we would love for our children to be fluent in Arabic, because although my wife and I are both proficient in Fusha and Classical Arabic, we can't really understand normal conversational Arabic or much of anything aside from a newscast in very formal language or Qura'nic recitation. It's also very important to us that they aren't at an international school with few local schoolmates.

In all likelihood we'll send our children to a local independent school where they can learn the local curriculum and get some sort of international qualification like an IB diploma, so that they can go to uni in France or Britain or Ireland or one of the top universities in the region like AUC or NYU Abu Dhabi etc. but that's very far off. AFAIK, Istanbul has some of the best schools in the region, with a curriculum that mixes modern European style education with traditional Islamic studies, so if we wind up there, it shouldn't be too hard for us to find something suitable.


Employment is of course an important consideration. My wife is a teacher who is qualified to teach French as a foreign language, so we are thinking that if needed she can work at a language school or freelance, but ideally we'll open our business. I studied literature and history, and my education doesn't get used in my current profession, so we had this romantic notion that we would open some sort of book store that can also serve as a space for local artists to show off their work, classes and lectures etc. It isn't something we could ever do in Western Europe, where starting up such an establishment would cost millions, and where most of the population is....post-literary, to put it euphemistically.

Yours and others' concerns with regards to Turkey's political situation are noted, but we aren't very political people, and the political views we do hold aren't necessarily opposed to the Turkish government in most ways
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