In some ways, writing about a week in my life seems so mundane and routine because it has become so normal to me. Then, I remember the fact that my normal is living abroad, studying some of my favorite subjects in an absolutely beautiful country. That’s not mundane, that is an experience worth celebrating! So, here is a week in my life as a student in Rabat, Morocco.
To start things off, my daily life is fairly routine. I’m someone who enjoys structure, so this is something I’ve actively sought out in crafting my schedule with my host family, my classes, etc.
For example, I always have breakfast at 7:00 in the morning, which my awesome host mom prepares before she packs the lunches I bring to eat at the center. When she’s done, she shows me what she’s packed (usually a salad with a vinaigrette and an entree) before putting one or two fresh fruits in my lunch box for dessert. Then, once I’ve finished getting ready, I’m out of the house by 7:30 a.m. and on my way to the Bab Chellah tram station, where I’ll board Line 2 in the direction of the Hospital Moulay Abdellah.
By the time I disembark from the tram at the Tour Hassan station, conveniently located about two blocks down from the IES Abroad Center, it’s around 7:45 a.m. and time for my morning hangout run. These little shops are amazing for grabbing snacks and beverages, and I’m lucky to have one right across from the center! Every morning I stop in, say “sabah alkhayr” (good morning in Arabic) to the very cheerful owner, and buy a water bottle and soda to enjoy with my lunch. From there, I head in to begin my school day at the IES Abroad Rabat Center.
Now, the length of my school day varies depending on what day of the week it is since the class times of our electives do not stay the same, even for the same elective class. However, I am usually at the center from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., which allows me to complete most if not all of my homework before I head home for dinner. One notable exception, however, is Friday because I only have one class in the morning, and coming home for a couscous lunch with my host family is an absolute must.
Once I’m home for the day, I will either spend time on the remaining parts of my homework or catch up with my host family, as well as friends and family back home. This is a great time for me to relax, especially since I have made the IES Abroad Center the place for doing my school work so I can have a space for work and a place to relax.
Now, as a self-proclaimed nerd, my classes have quickly become my favorite part of the program. Every day I learn something new about Morocco, as well as the greater region of the Middle East/North Africa, all of which happen to be my foci within my fields of study!
First off, every morning I go to my Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) class, which is my only required class as a student in this program. There are three iterations of this class: beginning, intermediate, and advanced, which we were assigned after a placement test that we took during our orientation in Meknes. In my case, I was placed in the intermediate-level course, and I absolutely love it. The pace is a welcome change from my prior study of Arabic, which I did entirely through summer intensive programs since my home institution doesn’t offer Arabic classes. Now, I am reviewing concepts and gaining a better understanding since we have more time to address them in detail.
After my MSA class, there are a few iterations of my schedule depending on the day of the week.
Mondays and Wednesdays, I attend my two French-taught classes:
- Sub-Saharans in Morocco (Mon. 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. and Wed. 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.)
- Islam in Morocco and North Africa (Mon. 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. and Wed. 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.)
Conversely, I only have one elective for Tuesdays and Thursdays
- North African Cultural Identities (Tues. 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. and Thurs. 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.)
Finally, Fridays are delightfully free from electives since I am not participating in an internship this semester!
Despite all of these classes being different topics, not all of them being my particular focus, I have found each of them to be fascinating. Never before had I considered studying sociology and migratory practices of Sub-Saharans, or the anthropological role of Islam, especially since I would never have been exposed to those topics at my home institution. However, I’ve had a blast learning about these captivating topics, as well as being able to expand my French skills through our readings, lectures, discussions, and assignments! And, while studying the cultural identities in North Africa was something I expected to study, the course has more than exceeded my expectations through the enthralling material and relevance to my research on identity in Morocco.
All in all, my week may feel very routine to me, but it is so full of excitement and adventures. I am learning so much and truly enjoying my life here, which is all I could ask for when it comes to an amazing study abroad experience.
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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.