Jordan in Photos – Intensive Arabic, Summer 2014

Keren Saidac, a student from the University of Wisconsin, studied with AMIDEAST/Jordan during the Summer of 2014.  At the end of her program she took the time to reflect on her experiences through pictures.

Saidac_Keren_AjlounCastle_2014_1

The Little Things

 

Standing on top of the highest peak of Ajloun Castle provides one of the most unbelievable views of Jordan’s many wonders. Just taking a few moments to observe and absorb it is really something magical. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Adventure, Arabic, Jordan, Photography

Adventures in the Souq – Morocco

A final 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 describes adventures in the Moroccan marketplace, locally known as the souq.

In Morocco, the main souqs are usually located in the medina, or the center of the city. I try to visit the souq in Rabat at least once a week if not more. It is the epitome of organized chaos, people heading in every direction possible, men and women yelling out the prices of their goods, incense burning, fruit shops, tannery’s, the souq is truly an experience.

 

Last Friday I found myself walking through the souq looking for fermented lemons a friend of mine wanted in Madrid. At first, as usual when I am looking for something in the souq, I couldn’t find them. I never get discouraged though, failing to find what I’m looking for represents the opportunity to explore and look simultaneously, a way to get what you need and make friends along the way.

 

During my escapades, I stumbled upon a spice/herbs shop that was possibly the biggest I had seen in the souq. Believing they may have what I’m looking for, I stopped to talk to the young man at the cash register. After he brought me everything lemon related besides what I was looking for, we laughed, and began to talk.

 

At this point most of his family and friends had gathered around the cash register, curious about the foreigner who had came in questioning in broken French and Darija. After I convinced them I wasn’t a WWE wrestler, the young man at the cash register, whose name was Anas, wanted to show me the chameleons he had collected and wanted to sell.

 

At first he and his family thought I would be intimidated by the small lizards, but after owning two snakes there aren’t many reptiles I can’t handle.    

 

IMG_20140425_083510

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Adventure, Arab Friends, Arabic, Morocco

Fried Chicken Brings Families Together – Morocco

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…

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Arab Friends, Arabic, Food, Morocco

Morocco: Nothing short of Poetry — Reflections from a Semester Abroad

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. 

IMG_20140416_180515

We trekked through the Sahara on camel back for about two hours, the scenery absolutely breathtaking…

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Introduction

Morocco in Photos – Reflections from Summer Intensive Arabic

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.

Image 1 HassanII

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!

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Adventure, Arab Friends, Arabic, Morocco, Photography

Summer in Oman – Reflections from an Intensive Arabic Student, 2014

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.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Oman

Snapshots of Life in Morocco

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.


 

tolo1

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.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Introduction