Another essay from our scholarship winner, Isaiah DuPree, an International Relations Major and Arabic Minor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Isaiah studied with AMIDEAST in Morocco during the 2013-2014 academic year. In this essay, he reflects on a special meal with his host family.
Last week was host family appreciation week. During this week we can give tokens of our appreciation to our host parents or play an American game with our host families. We can do anything that both demonstrates our gratitude for what they do, as well as creates a basis of intercultural dialogue. After bringing them cantaloupe and dates from the souq, I decided it was time to take it to the next level. I would bring a piece of my kitchen, to theirs.
When I first asked if I could cook dinner, Hajja (what I call my host mom) gave me a hesitant look, which I took as an opportunity to explain to her that I know how to cook and am often required to when I am at home in the states. After Hajja laughed at my eagerness and agreed to let me use the stove, I was on my way to buy my ingredients…
Isaiah DuPree, an International Relations Major and Arabic Minor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, studied with AMIDEAST in Morocco during the 2013-2014 academic year. In this essay, he reflects on his journey through the Sahara.
For the first ten minutes I had to remind my mind that what my eyes were witnessing was real. The rust colored sand dunes that rolled into the horizon, the sky so blue the oceans would be jealous, the echoing white clouds that plumed into the sky, the landscape alone had such a potent beauty it probably left my pupils dilated for the next week.
We trekked through the Sahara on camel back for about two hours, the scenery absolutely breathtaking…
The following photo essay was contributed by Summer Session 1 2014 participant, Mitch Oeler. A student at Duquesne University, Mitch has just returned from four weeks abroad in Morocco on AMIDEAST Education Abroad’s Intensive Arabic in Rabat program. Below, he reflects on some highlights of his time in Morocco.
The first weekend in Rabat, a few of my friends and I made the trip down to Casablanca. After a fun Friday night on Avenue de la Corniche, we woke up Saturday and took a walk to see Hassan II Mosque. It was easily one of the largest things I had ever seen! (That little man in the grey shirt is me; needless to say, I felt tiny.) When we tried to go inside for visiting hours, we were turned away because, as it turned out, the King of Serbia was visiting that day!
Below is an entry submitted by a participant on AMIDEAST’s first Intensive Arabic Program in Muscat, Oman. A student at Loyola University Chicago focusing on International Studies and Arabic Language and Culture, Sam Nelson-Mann reflects on his summer spent in the Sultanate in 2014.
I hate to be overly-predictable, but the first thing I noticed upon leaving the airport in Muscat, Oman was the heat. It can be… oppressive. I stepped outside to a crowd of Bengalis, Indians, Omanis, Indonesians – a truly global mixture, and a good indicator of what I would experience throughout my month-long stay in the Gulf country. I came to study Arabic for four weeks, and that I accomplished. However, what surprised me the most about my time there was what I learned about the greater plurality of the Arab world as a whole.
I had spent time in a host of other Arab/Middle Eastern countries in the past, but had never before visited the Gulf. What I discovered, contrary to the politically-volatile situations in Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt and Algeria, was a peaceful, stable, and relatively happy country, ruled over by a seemingly benevolent leader and enjoying a period of unprecedented economic prosperity and growth. This was troubling at first, because I had grown accustomed to studying the political economies of the countries I was visiting, and in the face of almost complete lack of strife, I felt almost as if there was nothing to be learned. After all, I had chosen Oman over Amman because I knew almost nothing about it – Oman tends not to come up in discussions about international affairs, even when discussing the Gulf.
The following photo essay was contributed by Spring 2014 participant Sidney Tolo. A student at Northeastern University, Sidney has just returned from a semester abroad in Morocco on AMIDEAST Education Abroad’s Arabic and Area Studies program. Below, she reflects on some highlights of her time in Morocco.
One of our first AMIDEAST trips was to a local artisan association, where we saw everything from pottery and basket weaving to woodcarving and this tile work. All over Morocco there are grand archways and beautifully tiled communal washbasins, so casually integrated into the community. Seeing things like this every day really made me appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into the things around us. Artisans like this have been around for centuries and I love that in Morocco, people still support local artists.
The following post was submitted by Fall 2013 participant Marjahn Goodman. A student at University of Mary Washington, Marjahn spent her fall semester on AMIDEAST Education Abroad’s Area & Arabic Language Studies Program in Amman, Jordan. Here, she reflects on her semester in Jordan via pictures taken while abroad.
Finding Peace Abroad
Being abroad is an unbelievable experience and adjusting can take time. Every week I would try to explore Jordan to learn from the historical sites and the local people. One of the most amazing places in Amman is the Roman Amphitheater located downtown, the heart of the city. Visiting the sight is amazing because you are surrounded by the Jordanian culture reserved in downtown Amman. It is a great place to sit to write, relax, meet new people and explore.
The following post was submitted by Fall 2013 participant Madinatou Diallo. A student of International Relations at Mount Holyoke College, Madinatou spent her fall semester on AMIDEAST Education Abroad’s Area & Arabic Language Studies Program in Rabat, Morocco. In her submission, she reflects on her semester in Morocco.
When I think about the four months I spent in Rabat, happy memories flood through my head– lunch with friends in Agdal, spending too many hours in the Medina, breakfast with my roommate and host dad, kissing my host mom whenever I returned home, drinking tea with my family while the TV went on unnoticed– which makes me want to do it all over again. But in the back of my mind, I know that it is impossible to recreate the wonderful moments I had in Morocco. For one, it is highly unlikely that the friends I made from all over the United States will all be there again for four months.