On Wednesday morning I said hi to the guys I played football with and then settled down to complete my eLearning modules. Redouane called all three of us into his office to inform us that the accommodation that was sourced by GSK could not be booked. He asked me to research the accommodation I had found before GSK had began their search. I quickly found a studio and a 2-bedroom apartment, arranging the viewing for the studio the very same day and the viewing for the 2-bedroom tomorrow. I also researched the payment security and payment timings to avoid previous setbacks. I discussed my research with Redouane and suggested extending our hotel stay to Friday in order to allow time to view and book the apartments. After work we viewed the studio and were satisfied with the condition and the location. Unfortunately, in the evening I was informed by the owner of the 2 bedrooms it would only be available from next Saturday onwards.
On Thursday, we were given computers by the IT department. We could now begin our e Learning Modules and use our GSK email accounts. However, the priority remained accommodation. We had discussed the issues as a group and agreed to extend Simrita’s hotel stay until next Saturday and for Alex and myself to move into the studio tomorrow. I updated the Careers Network on the situation throughout the day via emails and phone calls. After work we viewed the 2 bedrooms and were satisfied with the apartment and later went to visit the old Medina. This was a great way to interact with the locals. We met many friendly people and one stand out character.
Whilst walking around a man approached me and started a conversation. Once I told him I studied in Birmingham he mentioned his brother was an artist there, convenient I thought. He had also helped us by communicating in Arabic to the stall owners. However, I started to become suspicious when we were invited to view his stall. After being shown a great many carpets, I politely said we were not interested, but added that if we could have their contact details we might be in touch. He reacted well and quickly gave me his card whilst explaining shipping details to the UK.
Walking around the old Medina made us tired and hungry. The restaurant we had dinner at was strangely recommended by a waiter at another restaurant, who said that the restaurant that he worked at had bad food and that we should go somewhere else. I ordered the traditional Moroccan dish Tagines, chicken with citron and olives, a dish I would recommend. After returning from the meal I booked the studio apartment and finally called it a day.
Friday was the weekly casual clothes day. Alex and I were allowed to take the morning off to move into the studio. On returning to work I continued completing the various eLearning Modules in the afternoon. We visited the old Medina again after work and explored it fully. All the stalls and narrow alleyways made up this huge labyrinth like area. It was also a stark contrast to Casablanca’s new structures such as the metro, banks, hotels etc. The structures in the old Medina were crumbling and old, for example the worst we saw was a balcony that had collapsed and just lay in the alleyway!
There it was I had completed my first week! It was a reminder of how quickly time can pass and to make the most of the opportunity I have here. But just in the first week I had already improved my French, become more independent by arranging the accommodation, met so many people from work and in Casablanca, and learned more about another culture.