In the time since I decided to study abroad in Rabat, I’ve thought a lot about what I’d like to do and where I’d like to go. However, it was hard to do everything this past fall semester. So, here's my updated bucket list for my spring semester in Morocco!
Places to Go:
When I first considered where I’d like to go in Morocco, the list was seemingly endless. So many different places were calling out to me, begging me to come and explore them. However, I did manage to narrow it down to three especially interesting places to get started.
1. Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rabat
One thing to know about me is that I really love going to museums and other historical sites, especially museums dedicated to art. It brings a visual aspect to so many parts of our lives such as history, culture, identity, and emotion, and by experiencing these pieces we can share in those expressions.
This will also be a rare experience for me, as I’m not usually one for modern or contemporary art! My personal taste actually happens to be more in line with French impressionism, intricate works of Arabic calligraphy, and Japanese woodblock prints. However, I still believe that trying new things brings so much value to our lives, and I’m excited to do that by visiting this museum!
2. Museum of Moroccan Judaism, Casablanca
While I’ve taken several courses on Morocco at this point, and have learned so much about the Arab, Muslim, and Amazigh populations, I’ve never had the opportunity to delve further into the history of the Jewish population in Morocco, despite their contributions. For example, the well-known blue colors of Chefchaouen stem from the Jewish quarter of the Old Medina. Also, Morocco is host to some of the oldest synagogues in the world, many of which have been preserved and are now open to visitors. However, I don’t know many details about this group’s history in Morocco. So, this spring, I’d like to take advantage of the ability to easily travel to Casablanca in order to visit this museum. There’s so much I can learn by exploring this side of Morocco’s culture and history, and I’m excited to see what I’ll discover.
3. Musée du Patrimoine Amazigh, Agadir
As I’m sure you can tell from the beginning of this list, I really do love museums. However, this museum holds a particularly special place in my life, particularly in my academic career. For context, my academic focus within my fields of study is linguistic anthropology within Morocco, particularly how different languages affect how identity is formed. Therefore, I’ve done quite a bit of research on this subject, including on the Amazigh people, their cultures, and languages. However, I want to learn as much as I can while I’m in Morocco, and what better place to learn more than a museum dedicated to this ethnic group and their culture?
Things to Do:
Now that we’ve covered the places I’d like to go, here are some of the fun and unique activities I’d like to try during my time in Rabat!
1. Learn to Make Pottery in the Complexe artisanal Oulja in Salé
Some of my fondest childhood memories come from the handmade ceramics my grandmother would make for our family, as well as the occasional ceramic classes I took at summer camp. However, I’ve never made anything outside of simple bowls and plates! So, I decided I’d like to take a shot at crafting some traditional Moroccan ceramics, such as tagines, intricately painted bowls in traditional designs, or maybe a plate. It seems like a perfect foray further into Moroccan culture, and the finished product would be something I could take back as a memory for the years to come.
2. Learn to Write with Arabic Calligraphy
This art form is actually something I have had deep respect, admiration, and connection with since I started learning Arabic almost a year and a half ago. The skill it takes to master any of the multitudes of styles of Arabic calligraphy is immense, and the beauty it creates is absolutely ethereal. In fact, it was one of the reasons I fell in love with the Arabic language, and when I first started learning to write in Arabic I was adamant about using a calligraphy pen in order to capture the beauty of the letters. Now, after studying Arabic for the equivalent of two years, I’d love to explore the artistic capabilities of the language by studying and perfecting my skills in calligraphy!
3. Learn to Make Moroccan Pastries
As I mentioned in my bio, one of my many passions is baking, especially treats from around the world. Food is so important to people and cultures around the world, and cooking or baking these delicacies is such a fun way to connect with the rest of the world from the comfort of our own kitchens! Through this medium, I’ve explored a fair bit of the world, but Moroccan pastries are an almost entirely unknown field to me. While I know they’re delicious, I have exactly no experience whatsoever in making them. So, in an effort to further connect with Morocco, and take back skills that will allow me to introduce this beautiful country to my family and friends, I’ve decided that this would be a fantastic activity to try!
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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.