I don't think you can officially be integrated into the study abroad experience until you've completely exhausted and confused at least two, and in my case three, languages that are spoken in that country. As I've been traveling through Morocco, I never know when to speak which language, and often will even end up answering a question in French, even though it was spoken to me in English. I almost feel as if "l'humdulillah" is going to become a part of my everyday vocabulary, even once I return to the US.
The most difficult speaking experience thus far seems to be this weekend when a few friends and I traveled to Marrakech so that we could hike through the Berber villages of Imlil and the Atlas Mountains. Not only did I attempt English, French, and Darija, but many of the Berber people have their own language, deeming my attempts near useless. Nevertheless, it was quite the unforgettable weekend.
We decided to leave from Rabat around 4:00pm on Friday, once classes had finished for the week. This originally seemed like the perfect idea, until we were completely tired and hangry upon arrival at 10:00pm after being unable to find our Airbnb or a decent place to grab some dinner that was still open for us. Finally, we found a pizza joint near the souk, where I devoured my vegetarian pizza which would evidently leave me sick the next morning. Luckiy, I was able to recover (relatively) quickly so that I could fully take in the mountainous views I had been missing as well a the traditional Berber villages. It was a day filled with unexpected stops, turns, and everyone guessing, "where exactly are we?" since our tour guides spoke little to no French or English, and in fact, little Darija.
Normally, I thrive on a well structured schedule from day to day, but study abroad has been the opposite of that, and I've loved every minute of it.
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<p>Hello! I'm Sarah Miyahara; originally Southern born, California raised, Chicago educated, and now Morocco living! Taking a break from life at Loyola University Chicago where I study International Studies, Political Science, and Peace Studies, to spend my first semester of my junior year abroad. I've always loved photography, particularly because it's the only art I've ever been good at, and now I can't wait to share my photos with you!</p>