This is Bslama!

Cynthia Velazquez
August 8, 2014

So after a couple of delays at various airports, I arrived back to the U.S. about a week ago. I was welcomed home by my family, which included a crying mother and grandfather, an excited sister with a poster, and a “seemingly” nonchalant father. I was happy to see my family waiting for me there. My mother always cries when I come home from a trip. To me that doesn’t make sense; shouldn’t it be the opposite? Anyways, a week has given me more than enough time to reflect on my time abroad.

When I think back to my time in Morocco I can’t help but feel a little sad that I didn’t spend more time there. This trip to Morocco is the greatest learning experience of my life. Living in a completely different culture has given me the opportunity to learn to live a different way.

I learned to have dinner at ungodly hours.

I learned to have tea with almost every meal.

I learned that bread could be used as a spoon.

I learned that banana juice and almond juice actually exist.

I learned ginger juice shouldn’t exist.

I learned to not be surprised when loud speakers calling for prayer go off in the middle of the night.

I learned that Senegal is really, really hot.

I learned that I absolutely despise bargaining for things.

I learned that I really enjoy the Senegalese kora music.

I learned that Senegal is really a model of coexistence.

I learned about the migration patterns from the Maghreb and to the Maghreb.

I learned how to communicate in basic Darija (the Moroccan Arabic dialect).

I learned that I look Moroccan to Moroccan people.

I learned that Moroccan people are the friendliest and most hospitable I’ve ever met.

I learned what Moroccan hospitality really is.

I learned that in order to understand a culture you have to live in it.

I learned that Muslim people aren’t what some media makes them out to be.

I learned that Moroccan people are genuinely interested in what makes me who I am.

I learned that I want to learn Arabic.

I learned what I want to do with the rest of my life.


Theses are just a few things of the many that I learned in the seven weeks I spent in Morocco. This experience has given me a new goal in life. I want to be able to combine my studies in psychology and French to be able to work with people that need access to mental health that are from that region. I’m not 100% sure how that is going to go but it is something to work towards.

Morocco is such a beautiful country with such a beautiful culture that it is a shame that some people don’t even know where it is on a map. Hopefully, after reading these blogs more people will be interested in going there. As for me, inshallah, I will go back to Morocco.



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Cynthia Velazquez

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I am a sophomore studying at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In my free time I like to spend time with friends and family. I also enjoy going out to town and trying new things, such as food and activities. I like to explore new places. I am excited to be studying in Rabat this summer and I hope that blogging about it will help record all the experiences I hope to have.</span></p>

2014 Summer 1, 2014 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Biological Sciences
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