After fifteen weeks in Morocco and hundreds of wonderful moments, we’ve finally reached the end of finals week! Time has absolutely flown by and with everyone getting ready to pack up their lives and return home, I thought I would share my experience with preparing to go home as an academic-year student.
One of the biggest things I’ve noticed in the process of preparing to go home is the fact that where my classmates and friends are experiencing a sense of finality at the end of this semester, I have not. In the back of my mind, I am completely aware of the fact that I will be coming back to Morocco in January for my second semester. I have no reason to be sad to leave in regard to leaving Morocco, perhaps permanently in the case of some students. Come the end of January, I will be right back where I was this past September, only with an entire semester’s worth of experience.
However, this difference in circumstances has led me to feel disconnected from my cohort as our time together comes to an end. After all, their time in Morocco is coming to a definitive end, and their futures contain exciting adventures like going off to graduate, finishing their degrees, starting their professional careers, and all sorts of other new endeavors. Meanwhile, I’ll be continuing projects I’ve started this fall, continuing to explore the city of Rabat, and experiencing life abroad without the group that I’ve been with these past fifteen weeks. I don’t feel the same sadness they do about leaving Morocco and all the connections they’ve made throughout this semester. Everyone at my center in terms of the faculty and staff will still be there, my host family will still be here, so much of my life will stay the same.
Instead, I find myself feeling sad about their departure rather than my own. For the last fifteen weeks, we have studied together as classmates, taken field trips together, and managed to build amazing friendships all at the same time. Most of our adventures, whether through field trips or independent travel, were taken together. These students have become good friends of mine, people I know I can trust and rely on, and have been able to throughout the program. From these experiences, we have built such a tight network within our group, and knowing that it's coming to an end is hard in general, but we’re experiencing this difficulty in different ways.
Now, this is not to say that I’m not excited about the opportunities that my spring semester will provide. I’m beyond thrilled to meet my new cohort, try different classes, and take more chances to explore the world with the confidence I’ve built up during the fall. These moments will be able to shape an entirely new part of my life and allow me to continue the personal, academic, and professional growth I’ve already been able to cultivate during my time abroad in a way that nothing else could. Ultimately, I am grateful for all of the time I have spent with my program this fall, and cannot wait to see what spring has in store.
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A rising junior hailing from the College of Wooster, I'm pursuing a double major in Anthropology and French/Francophone Studies with an accompanying double minor in MENA Studies and Statistical/Data Sciences. These intersecting fields brought me to my upcoming study abroad experience in Morocco, where I am incredibly excited to explore the many cultures and languages that have shaped this beautiful country. Other interests of mine include international baking, travel, and music.