Preparing for the Maghreb

Chloe Zagrodzky
May 30, 2015

T-minus two days until I leave for my adventure in Rabat! Somehow, that reality hasn't quite sunk in yet, despite the whirlwind of preparation I've had to do over the past week and a half. I've done a bit of shopping-- as someone who splits time between SoCal and central Texas, the idea of pants and scarves in the summer is completely alien to me. Despite my lack of experience, I managed to find a lot of good stuff at  REI, J. Crew and the Elephant Pants that will keep me cool and covered. I also picked up a gift for my host family: a box of Texas pralines and a coffee table book full of pictures of Texas cities and landscapes. Hopefully, those will be a hit!

When I went to get my study abroad physical back in April, I was told I was up to date on all my vaccinations. However, I forgot to mention the field study in Dakar, Senegal. So this week I went to the doctor and got a yellow fever vaccine and a surprise tetanus shot. While I was technically up to date on tetanus, my doctor recommended people who regularly travel get a tetanus shot every five years rather than every ten years. Lucky me! The yellow fever shot made my left tricep red and swollen like a giant mosquito bite. The tetanus shot, which has always been my most dreaded vaccine, made my right arm feel badly bruised. Luckily, both of those side effects went away in a couple of days.

While I'm excited to spend this summer in Morocco, I am a little nervous about a couple of things. It will be challenging to adapt to a culture and country so different from my home country and culture. It will be an adjustment, speaking French every day. I hope my host family is welcoming and that we have a genuinely wonderful six weeks together. These things are scary to me because they are somewhat out of my control. However, I am confident that when I board my plane for Rabat, going in with curiosity and an open mind will make all the difference.

Although I have those little anxieties, there is a lot that I'm looking forward to this summer. I can't wait to improve my French skills and learn Arabic. Learning Arabic has been on my bucket list, so that will be really rewarding. I'm also excited to explore Morocco and learn about its history and culture. Most of all, I'm anticipating the amazing adventures that await me this summer. It will truly be one to remember.

Now, off to buy some bug spray and some last minute books for my flight!

À bientôt!

Chloe Zagrodzky

<p>Chloe Zagrodzky is a rising junior at Claremont McKenna College majoring in Government and Leadership. When not reading the Federalist Papers for the 100th time, she can be found practicing her French skills, running or preparing to compete with her Mock Trial team. Her list of favorite things includes dogs of all shapes and sizes, reasonably priced mochas and creative Instagram captions.</p>

Destination:
Term:
2015 Summer 1, 2015 Summer 2
Home university:
Claremont McKenna College
Major:
Government
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