Arabic Language & Culture in Morocco
October 24, 2019
My name is Aaron and I’m from Middleton, Tennessee State University. I’ve been here since December. I am an International Relations major, with a triple minor in Global Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Agriculture. It’s been our feeling that we’re in Morocco, and this country is unbelievable. We have not traveled extensively, but we did take a two week trip at Christmas, and we’re taking another trip at the next break. We’ve done things outside of Fez as much as possible. Every place we’ve been — there’s so much, just so much here, that’s so interesting and astounding. The terrain in different parts of the country – we’ve been to the desert, we camped in the desert, and took camels to get to our campsite and went down to the mountains, the Anti-Atlas mountains, and went hiking and biking. There’s so much to do – I just can’t even believe people would leave Morocco, because Morocco itself is unbelievable. My Arabic is definitely a lot better. I mean, you sit in class, and everything on the board is written in Arabic, and all of a sudden you think, I actually understand this! And it’s really rewarding, I would say. My Arabic is now heads and tails over my French, German, or Italian. And beyond that, I always had native speakers teaching the language, which was good, but being able to hear the language, in everyday life, on the news, on the radio, those are things you just don’t get when you stay in America, so that’s been probably the most important thing. I think Fez is a really, really wonderful city for people to live in. Morocco has a nice influence from the European countries so I think it’s easier for people who are studying abroad in the Arab word for their first time. Fez, in my opinion, is the most beautiful city in Morocco. Ancient city, oldest continuing running university in the world. Walled city, so lots of culture and history and things like that to learn from, so that’s why I chose Fez. The oldest city in Morocco, and also one of the cities that contains the oldest university, which is Al-Karaouine, and it has a lot of American centers, too. Anybody that has a hunger for adventure, for newness. I think somebody that’s ambitious about study, It’s definitely not easy to study here. There’s lots of homework, lots of things going on. If you have an ambition and a hunger for something new, if what you feed off of is that kind of lifestyle, then I think you’ll definitely excel in this environment. The classes are very intensive, they are 20 hours a week and part of it is studying. But I think that, it’s been much more intensive than other study abroad language programs that I’ve done in the past. The teachers here and the students, and also, everywhere they go, reminds them of the Arabic culture in some ways. This experience in Morocco will definitely open up my mind to try to understand the East/West paradigm and help me to have a better dialogue with those around the world – better Middle East/Western relations, which I think is greatly needed. That’s another reason I chose Morocco, it’s very progressive, I would say.