Welcome to yet another of my study abroad blogs. This time for Africa!
I’ve been studying Turkish, Spanish and Azeri here in Wisconsin, yet I’m shipping off to a country that speaks Arabic and French. Am I crazy? No, not really. I am just hungry for adventure. I like being outside of my comfort zone because I think that’s where the best learning takes place. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know the wonderful people of Morocco and to learn their language and traditions.
Last year I was fortunate to have had the chance to live in Gaziantep, in the south central part of Turkey, not far from the Syrian border. Although I only learned Turkish while there, many people living in Gaziantep speak Arabic as well because of its close proximity to Syria. Much of the slang heard in the city is derived from Arabic, and of course, the Islamic prayers that my host family taught me were in Arabic. Arabic proficiency is the clear next step for me in order to attain my academic and professional goals. Being able to speak Turkish and Arabic will open a world of opportunities for me and allow me to more fully understand that part of the world. The Arabic program in Morocco is a great fit for me. Like Turkey, Morocco interests me because of its rich cultural roots, mixing European, African and Middle Eastern influences. I will be able to live with a family and further learn about the traditions of Islam and the role of women in the Arab world. I can’t wait to perfect the art of pouring mint tea from a foot above the glass. I can’t wait to have hot desert sand between my toes. I can’t wait to befriend a camel. And most of all, I can’t wait to get to know my loving new Moroccan family.
Studying abroad has not only made me more open minded, accepting and adaptable, but it has also made me more self confident, independent and passionate. I am sure my time in Morocco will continue to teach me about myself and the world around me. I would like people who read this blog to be inspired by my experiences and maybe even think differently about the world. My hope is that my words here will encourage others to experience what is beyond their doorstep and to realize that we are all just neighbors in a global community and we each have to care for one another.
Get ready. Moroccan adventures await.