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.
Julie Fisher, a student at American University in the class of 2014, studied abroad with AMIDEAST in Rabat, Morocco during the Spring 2013 semester. As an intern for AMIDEAST Education Abroad during the Fall 2013 semester, Julie has put together a “How To” to live with a host family in order to calm any apprehension about moving in to a new family while studying abroad.
Across the board, when I ask people to identify their favorite part of studying abroad, the homestay experience almost always comes out on top. Sure, it can be daunting at first- who wouldn’t be at least a little bit nervous at the thought of living in a complete stranger’s home for several months? However, most people soon find that these “strangers” quickly turn into a second family.
Below is a photo essay submitted by summer 2013 Intensive Arabic in Rabat, Morocco participant Rockia Coulibaly. A student of International Relations and Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College, Rockia reflects on some of her favorite experiences in Rabat this summer.
On one of my very last days in Morocco, my host family thought it would be a great idea for my roommate and me to try on some of the traditional Moroccan clothing. We tried on both takchitas and caftons. The one I am wearing in this photo is called a takchita, and these dresses are normally worn during weddings and baby showers. The takchita in this photo was actually the takchita that my host sister wore for her wedding. The takchita comes with a belt or mdamma as said in the Moroccan dialect, Darija. The dress is also worn with beautiful jewelry which matches the color and style of the dress. In addition, women also get henna done on their hands and feet for these special occasions.
This post was submitted by Laura Kauer, a student at American University in Washington, DC and a participant in AMIDEAST’s spring 2013 Area & Arabic Language Studies Program in Rabat, Morocco. In addition to reflecting on her semester abroad, Laura uses photography to describe her most memorable aspects of Morocco.
Once of the first trips I took outside of Rabat was to the sleepy beach town of Asilah. During the summer it is the chosen spot for European tourists and artists; but in the winter, it was a completely different experience as we walked through the half empty medina. We walked through its blue and white streets marveling at the infinite shades of blue and green of the doors and windows. Later in the night, I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets on the beach and saw the water slowly take on all the hues of blue and green that I had seen that day in Asilah’s streets.
Filed under Arabic, Morocco
A student of Anthropology and Linguistics at Montana State University, Gabe Lavin is a 2012-2013 academic year student on AMIDEAST’s Area & Arabic Language Studies Program in Egypt. In this submission, Gabe discusses his involvement with the music community in Cairo and the development of his oud skills.
I came to Egypt to pursue my interest in Arabic music and studies on the guitar-like instrument called the ‘oud’ that I began playing two years before my arrival in Cairo in August of 2012. I immediately jumped into the music scene in Cairo by attending concerts and trying to become acquainted with a diversity of local musicians. AMIDEAST gave me many opportunities to pursue these interests as well through the Community-Based Learning course where I volunteered with the NGO called ‘Makan:’ Egyptian Center for Culture and Art. The organization focuses on the preservation on traditional Egyptian music. However, after having been in Cairo for about month, and often expressing my interest in the oud and Arabic music, I heard a lot about a place called Beit El Oud and the world famous Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shama who runs the place.
The entry below was submitted by Area & Arabic Language Studies Spring 2013 Program participant Samual Hobert. A student of International Affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, in this post Sam reflects on his invitation to hold a discussion with a student club at Al Azhar University in Cairo.
This past Monday, I had the privilege of lecturing at Al-Azhar University’s Faculty of Translation. Founded in 970 A.D., Al-Azhar is one of the world’s oldest universities and one of Egypt’s biggest. A language-learning buddy of mine, Mustafa, invited me to speak in front of the student organization “Spread Your Skills.” The organization, commonly referred to as ”SYS”, was launched by a group of Al-Azhari students to further develop and improve their English language proficiency, a skill increasingly needed in Egypt’s shrinking jobs market. Mustafa, while a member himself, leads the advanced class of students in weekly sessions. Excited as I entered the doors of the school’s building, little did I know how much of an effect this short visit would have not only on my outlook of Egypt but my understanding of education’s power as well.
As I entered the fourth-floor classroom, the greetings I received were sincere and the smiles were wide. Conversation was strictly limited to English and any Arabic was punished by a 1 Egyptian Pound fine – enforced by Mustafa – put towards funding of group outings throughout Cairo. Taking my place behind the professor’s desk in the front of the class I realized that while I had a public-speaking class under my belt, nothing could have prepared my for this moment as forty sets of eyes intently looked onto me, notebooks open, pencils in hand waiting for me to begin.
Dickinson College student of Economics, Mary Campbell, participated in AMIDEAST Education Abroad’s Area & Arabic Language Studies Program in Amman, Jordan during the Fall 2012 semester. In this post, she reflects on her semester abroad in the Hashemite Kingdom.
Mansef, the national dish of Jordan, is a popular meal among all locals. I took this picture at the house of my language partner when she invited me over for lunch with her family. Having a language partner was a great resource that AMIDEAST provided which was not only important for improving my language skills but also broadening my cultural experience.