Rachida’s Long Stay in Germany and Her Coming Back to a Patriarchal Society

A multimedia story by: Anjali Sinha, Rachida Zoubid, Gladis Maritza Calderón Ysmodes and Giovanna Borsato

“I imagined Rachida as a large brilliant cut diamond“ says Giovanna. She’s interpreter, translator, cultural mediator and manager, social psychologist, professor and poet. Rachida was a young woman that after 15 years in Germany came back to Morocco with her husband and two children. She fell into a deadly embrace of the tradition.

Aachen 1984 - Rabat 1998: “I went to Germany in order to share my life with the man I loved at the first sight, I came back to see this man disappearing from my life from day to day. That's the gift of coming back to a patriachal society.”


What was the main challenge coming back from Germany regarding organization? And what were the challenges for your private life?

Rachida Zoubid: The main challenge was our two sons’s education. The oldest one was 8 and the other 5 years old. My sons were born in Germany after achieving the first university grade (1990-1993). They were not able to speak French or write Arabic. The focus on the education and leisure time of my children was very central. The father was working all the time and I was responsible for everything. I tried to avoid stress situations and to make my children enjoying the new life with its challenges.

The second challenge was the hiring of our own apartment. During the first weeks since our arrival, we lived in the big house of my family in Rabat, after we moved to an individual house. Since the first week of our arrival, my husband worked on the approval of his doctor’s degree and got recruited by the public sector. He had a lot of work and came home very late. I immediately assumed the traditional Role of a woman in a Moroccan context: I took care of the children, kept house, did the shopping and cooked.

I will never forget the first time after I returned to my home country from Germany. Everything was different: the sunshine was everlasting and I didn’t bear it. I left my country just-married, five hours before flying together to Germany, with money, and I came back with a family, my husband and two lovely children, but without an individual home and without enough money for this sweet family.

  • Engagement gold bracelet and gold ring Sep.1981 Rachida Zoubid. I left my country just-married,five hours before flying together to Germany Oct. 1984. I learned German in a short time and during my basic studies, I worked as an interpreter. 

  • Rachida Zoubid. 1994 was the peak of my political commitment. During this period I was the first Moroccan woman in Germany who was elected in the first legal elections for councils of the Foreigners’ Representative Boards.

  • Mar 2016 Rachida Zoubid. Speech on the international women’s day on the occasion oft my award because of the promotion of social and cultural work.

  • Bielefeld, Feb. 2016. Rachida Zoubid. Visit of the dean to discuss with him future cooperation with my faculty. I wanted to ask here about professional exchange with the Chambre of Handicrafst in my province.

  • Mai 2016, Sidi Allal El Bahraoui. Rachida Zoubid. Coorganizer oft the first national festival oft the children national songs to the moroccan territorial integrity.

Her Long Stay of 15 Years: “The development of a healthy self-confidence and self-efficacy was the best acquisitions during my long stay in Germany.”

How did you benefit from your stay in Germany?

My life in Germany was crowned by academic, socio-cultural and socio-political achievements as well as individual fulfillments. In Germany, I acquired new scientific, social and political skills. Yet, the development of a healthy self-confidence and self-efficacy was the best of my acquisitions during my long stay in Germany. I learned how to be hopeful and above all how to be proud of all what I did. I learned to be courageous and never to give up and to stand up for my right. I learned to say no for what I don’t like. I learned that my body, my mind and my soul belong to me. I learned how to control my self-determination and how to protect the freedom of my thought.

Her Suffering on The Professional Level : “I worked hard, I was mobbed, discriminated, disqualifield, because I was a woman. I returned from Germany on October 1998 and I had an official payed position at the University on March 2004.”

After your return: What were the challenges for your professional life?

I received the approval of my doctor’s degree after about more than two years. Because we needed money, I worked by the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation three months, I worked at the translation institute in Tanger and taught technical translation (law, economics), and as an established post was vacant I ran for it, I was mobbed from the masculine examination commission who discriminated me and disqualified me. I had the same examination at the University of Fès, the commission qualified a second candidate from Mainz, who came after me and disqualified me, because I was a woman. The Same examination took place in Rabat at the university where I taught as honorary fellow and the same commission qualified another candidate who just came from Germany, and disqualified me because I was a woman. The last examination took place at the University Hassan II in Casablanca, within the same commission was a new member who defended me as they decided to be against me. I returned from Germany on October 1998 and I had an official payed position at the University on March 2004. Now I am working at the Faculty of educational science in Rabat and teach social and pedagogical psychology and intercultural management.

Video statements from a team member

Her Coming Back Home Differently: “Coming back to a patriarchal society need to be prepared psychologically and emotionally.”

If you could plan your stay in Germany and come back home once again – what would you do differently?Any recommendations?

I would plan my stay and my coming back home differently. First of all, I would apply for a German citizenship for me and my children who were born in Germany. Furthermore, I would start up a new business: I would never consider working for the public sector. As to a woman, coming back to a patriarchal society need to be prepared psychologically and emotionally. It is a must to be ready for fighting and standing up for your rights. If you have a chance, you will meet a decision-maker who will help you, and if you are not that chanceful you will suffer as I suffered on all levels of professional and private life.

What did Rachida do in Germany: “I did go to Germany to satisfy the pride of my parents and to follow the love of my life. My studies went through three several steps: learn German, basic, graduate and doctoral studies. I was very active in the civil society, the year of 1994 was the peak of my political commitment.”

Why did you go to Germany and what did you do there?

My studies abroad went through several steps. The first one was RWTH-university in Aachen where I learned German. The second step was the JGU Mainz, Department of translation, applied linguistic and cultural studies FTSK in Germersheim, where I studied intercultural German and Arab Studies, penal, civil and international law as well as macro- and microeconomics and international commercial law. Then, I achieved a university diploma in translation and interpreting and was accredited as a sworn court translator from the federal county court of Landau and of Frankenthal. Later on, I studied administrative science at the German University for administrative sciences in Speyer and achieved my Master degree in organization and information engineering and information communication, finances of the territorial communities. The third step was the doctoral studies in the JGU Mainz and the achievement of the grade Doctor of Philosophy in Arab philology and history of the middle eastern and cultural sociology as well as intercultural German Studies with the focus of the critic of the German society and the holocaust period.

The year of 1994 was the peak of my political commitment. As a non-European citizen living in Germany, I was authorized for the first time in the state’s history to become involved in local politics through official elections for councils of the Foreigners’ Representative Boards. Through this council, I was a member of the municipal city council and was selected as the head of the council for health and social matters and the council of senior German and non-German citizen. During this period, I was the first Moroccan woman in Germany who was elected in the first legal elections for councils of the Foreigners’ Representative Boards. It was an opportunity to organize many multicultural unifying meetings between German citizens and migrant-groups. I enjoyed the role of mediator between them and the German authorities while assuring the protection of the human rights of the formers. In addition to that, I used to explain the German Aliens Law to the concerned groups.

Postcard to Germany