Friday, September 26, 2014

"For those who have seen the Earth from space, and for the hundreds and perhaps thousands more who will, the experience most certainly changes your perspective. The things that we share in our world are far more valuable than those which divide us." -Donald Williams

Today is the one-month anniversary of me being in Morocco. As soon as I arrived I knew that I would have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The past couple weeks have been nothing short of amazing. After some paperwork, I am now a Moroccan resident and that is pretty insane. I never would have expected to feel so at home here after only a month. I think that studying abroad is a great way to see a country because being a student here makes life a lot more normal. I live in the dorms, I attend classes, and campus life at AUI is not that different than Kent so the transition of being in a new country is less intense than if I was on my own. The classes I am taking here are drastically different than the classes I took at Kent. As a science major, I was taking Chemistry, Biology and Math courses galore, and here I am taking all Social Sciences. I am definitely out of my element, but discussing the connection between religion and politics, or studying gender in the Middle East while I am in Morocco, is such an amazing opportunity.

Yesterday was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Before flying to Morocco, I was not planning on celebrating the New Year, but there are actually two more Jewish International students here! The festivities started Wednesday evening by us attending an Interfaith ceremony where we talked about the High Holy Days and heard a Muslim Professor talk about Eid Kabir. We ate apples and honey, and lamb was served for Eid. I loved how we were able to share our faith and we were able to learn about Islam. It was such a wonderful experience for us all to get together to celebrate and share our stories. Yesterday, we got excused absences from our classes for the day and decided to run our own mini services. We walked down to a stream near campus and read some stories, said some of our favorite prayers, tossed bread into the stream, and talked about how we celebrate Rosh Hashanah at home, and how the past year went for us. Being able to celebrate this holiday, especially with my new friends in Morocco, was really special for me.

This weekend I am headed to the Sahara Desert and next weekend I am flying out of Morocco to..... Amsterdam! The adventures keep on coming, and even if I am not traveling during the weekend, spending time with my friends on campus is equally exciting. Forming friendships and meeting new people have been the main goals during the past month. Everyone here is open and interesting, and I am so happy to be surrounded by such great students. I am also happy to have found a few students that I immediately connected with. Meeting people from all around the world and sharing stories and experiences, as well as making new stories and experiencing new things together, is awesome.

Dakota, Kelsey, and me! 

Hiking near campus at the Source Vittel

We had to go into a rug shop in Fes.

The Medina in Fes! I am pretty sure Kelsey, Dakota, and I were the only group of International students that did not get lost.

Intricate patterns are everywhere here.

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