A Semester in Morocco
From January to May 2015, I lived in Rabat, Morocco's capital city, studying Arabic and journalism at the Center for Cross-Cultural Learning.
I’m reluctant to write this post because it feels like a formal admittance that my time in Morocco has come to an end. And it came fast.
Last Sunday evening, we moved out of our apartment in Bab el-Had and into Hotel Darna, the same place where our semester began four months ago – making it all the more official that our study abroad experience had come full circle. The difference between then and now, however, is that in January, I moved into Darna anxious and uncertain – terrified that I’d never find myself at home here in Rabat and uneasy about everything from the homestay experience, to the independent study that would come at the end. All of those worries were coupled with the fact that I knew I’d be hit with culture shock, and that I’d be hit hard. Well, I was hit with a decent dose of shock – I was right about that much. I distinctly remember the first few sleepless nights, the awkward hallway conversations in the dark, depressing hallways of Darna, and the breakfasts of bread, bread and other kinds of bread. I didn’t realize at the time that it was all of these things that would bring us together – the culture shock, the fears, and all the unanswered questions. But this week had an entirely different feel to it; instead of the awkward hellos, I worried about the uncomfortable goodbyes. I also realized this week that the worry was for nothing. Yes, studying abroad in Morocco was a challenge and some days were harder than others, but it wasn’t a challenge that I couldn't handle. I was ready for it, whether I realized it or not on that snowy January day in Boston, waiting for my plane that would take me to Paris first, and then to Rabat.