Here We Go

I’m a little behind staring my blogging since I’m already in Fes, Morocco where I will be spending eight weeks. We haven’t done much yet so I will just use this post to introduce myself and my program.

My name is Jill Winston and I am a junior in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilization department. The language I’ve chosen to study for my degree is Arabic, which is why I ended up in Morocco this summer. My ultimate goal is to work as a translator someday, but there is a lot of work to do before I get to that point. I see this trip as a big stepping-stone towards that goal. It’s my opinion that if you really want to become fluent in a language you have to immerse yourself in it. This trip is my first time overseas. I spent this last week in London with my brother and had a blast. I really want to try to challenge myself, and put myself in uncomfortable situations, like speaking a language I’m just learning with strangers, because I know they will make me stronger in the end. This trip will be a special part of my life, and I’m determined not to waste it.

The study abroad program I am participating in is a faculty-led program. We are spending eight weeks at the American Language Institute in Fes, for an intensive 2nd year Arabic course. Class is four hours each day plus all the homework that comes along with it. If you’re going to cram a year of Arabic curriculum into eight weeks you’re going to spend most of your time with your nose in the books. There are going to be many fun things as well. We have several field trips planed, including a trip to the Sahara Desert where we’ll go for a camel ride. I heard camels aren’t very comfortable, but I’m pretty excited anyway. During our trip each student is going to stay with a host family. This is the part of the trip I’m most nervous about. I’ve only had one year of Arabic so far, which means I’m miles away from fluent, so I’m worried communication could be a problem. I also could end up with a family I don’t get along with, which would make this a long eight weeks. At the same time it will be nice to have a place to settle down for the trip and have home cooked meals. My family is picking me up from the school at 6:00 tonight, so I guess the suspense will be over soon.