Ahlan wa Sahlan!

Hello everyone! Welcome to the first of many posts about my study abroad trip to Morocco. I’ll be using this blog to provide regular updates about the experience through photos and the occasional video.

So, a little about myself. I’m a junior at the University of Washington majoring in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures which basically means I spend most of my time studying Arabic. Before I transferred to the UW, I spent a couple years off and on doing volunteer work in Israel and Uganda. This summer (starting on Monday) I’m taking an intensive 8 week Arabic program in Fes, Morocco. The program is 18 credits (15 language and 3 cultural) taught by UW faculty. I’m hoping to use the time abroad not only to progress (hopefully significantly) in Arabic, but also to gain a deeper understanding of the issues facing the modern Morocco. With all of the changes we’re seeing across the Arab world, I’m excited to interact with Moroccans on a daily basis and get their opinions on what direction their country is heading. The other students and I will be staying with Moroccan host families during the 8 weeks so it will great to interact from them. I think that’s one of the greatest benefits of traveling/studying abroad; learning from local people about their thoughts on their own country without the ‘filter’ of Western media is invaluable. While I am somewhat nervous about the initial communication problems that will inevitably arise while staying with my host family, I think the benefits will far outweigh any negatives.

Ok, I think that’s enough for now! I just arrived in Fes a couple days ago and will update with some first impressions and a video insh’Allah  in a few days.