From Morocco to Oklahoma: Student leaves home in search of education

February 24, 2012 Feature Print Print

Seddik Halabi



Seddik Halabi, 33, moved from his home in Morocco to Oklahoma in 2001.

“I chose Oklahoma after doing extensive research on the cost of living and schooling,” Halabi said.

Halabi first majored in management information studies at the University of Central Oklahoma.

“I didn’t like dealing with the cost and classes there [at UCO],” Halabi said.

Halabi said you can tell the difference between UCO and OCCC.

So he transferred to OCCC.

“People care about you as an individual here.” he said.

Once Halabi transferred to OCCC, he did research on the major that would provide him a decent salary and good job security after graduation.

Morocco – World Region: Africa

Capital: Rabat

Population: 32,309,239

GDP: $163,000,000,000 (USD)

Size: 277,473 sq. miles

National Languages: Arabic and French

Currency: Dirhams

Government: Constitutional Monarchy

Religions: Christian, Muslim, Jewish

Festivals: Marathon des Sables (The Sand Marathon)The Sand Marathon covers 151 miles and is run over 6 days. Set in the Moroccan desert, around 600 competitors from 30 countries take part every year.

History: In 788, a series of Moroccan Muslim dynasties began to rule in Morocco. In the 16th century, the Sa’adi monarchy repelled foreign invaders and inaugurated a golden age. The Alaouite dynasty, to which the current Moroccan royal family belongs, dates from the 17th century.

In 1860, Spain occupied northern Morocco and ushered in a half century of trade that saw Morocco’s sovereignty steadily erode; in 1912, the French imposed a protectorate over the country. An independence struggle with France ended successfully in 1956. Sultan MOHAMMED V, organized the new state as a constitutional monarchy and in 1957 assumed the title of king.

Gradual political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature, which first met in 1997. Under King MOHAMMED VI – who succeeded his father to the throne – human rights have improved. Morocco enjoys a moderately free press, but the government has taken action against journalists who they perceive to be challenging the monarchy, Islam, and the status of Western Sahara.

A commission set up in March 2011 presented a draft constitution that was passed by popular referendum in July 2011. Under the new constitution, some new powers were extended to parliament and the prime minister, but ultimate authority remained in the hands of the monarch.


“I became a petroleum engineering major,” Halabi said.

According to Halabi, OCCC’s Engineering Club and Student Life have scheduled speakers in the past who have spoken  oncampus about his field of study.

“They help out because I know what I’m fixing to face [when I transfer],” Halabi said.

Halabi plans on graduating from OCCC in December.

He said he will continue his education at the University of Oklahoma.

Halabi said the one thing he misses from back home in Morocco is his family.

“In Morocco, love is a day to day thing. People are genuine about others,” Halabi said.

He said he has hopes to eventually move back to Morocco, but is unsure if it will happen.

“I have an American wife and her family here,” Halabi said.

“Picking up everything and moving her and my son would not be fair,” he said.

“We are talking about possibly moving to Europe at some point, a good central location.”

Over the past 10 years, the U.S. has lived up to Halabi’s expectations.

“The U.S. is a great country,” he said. “It has given me many opportunities – a life of my own with a house and family.”

Halabi said he appreciates life in this country which he calls home.

“You can always find people who respect you for you.”

To contact Sarah Hussain, email

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