Well. This semester did not turn out the way expected it to. Like every single person on earth, my plans changed dramatically when it became clear how serious the coronavirus pandemic would become.
I was planning on being in Morocco until the middle of May and then spending a few weeks in Europe traveling solo. After traveling, I was supposed to attend a course in Austria through my home institution. Instead, I got on a repatriation flight back to the United States on March 20th (I'll share that whole story in another blog post). I arrived in the United States on March 21st.
Thankfully, no one in my family is immunocompromised so I was able to go home. My family, my fiance, and I spent 14 days in self-quarantine. Being home felt absolutely surreal. I had no time to prepare to come back. One day I was in Morocco - the next I was home. The transition was not always easy, but I tried my best to go with the flow.
Sometimes, I was incredibly frustrated. I felt like I lost so much. I spent 3 and a half years planning to go abroad. And then a global pandemic hit and changed everything. On the other hand, I haven't lived at home since I started college. So, I tried to focus on enjoying my time at home and spending time with my family.
The week I got home was midterms exams. I took midterms with a lot of jet lag and emotional whiplash. But my professors were incredibly kind and flexible throughout the week, so I survived midterms. The next week was Spring Break. Before, I was going to spend Spring Break in Tunisia. Now, I was spending spring break in the United States with my family. It reminded me how much everything had changed.
After Spring Break, classes started. Our professors moved our class times so we could use Big Blue Button (a program kind of like Zoom) that allowed us to interact with our professors and continue our classes. I've actively avoided online classes throughout college, but I adjusted relatively quickly. It definitely doesn't replace in-person interactions, but it is a second close. I set up a study space (see pic at the top of the blog). The tablecloth on my desk in from Asilah, Morocco. It's not the same as studying in a Moroccan cafe, but it does remind me of being in Morocco.
Since being back, I decided to adopt a cat. I was going to adopt a cat during my gap year, but I decided now was as good a time as any to do it! She's an absolute sweetie and loves distracting me from studying.
Despite a serious change in plans, I am incredibly thankful for my time abroad. Although the semester did not turn out how I expected, I cherish the time I had in Morocco. I still have to say about my time in Morocco. You'll see more blog posts soon!
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<p>Hi! I'm Skylar. I'm a senior at Hope College, majoring in Chemistry on the premed track. The semester I study abroad is my last semester and I will graduate (and apply to medical school) when I come back to the States! I am thrilled I get to study abroad before I graduate. I am so excited to share the adventures I have while I study abroad in Rabat, Morocco with you all. After 3.5 years of all science all the time, I am looking forward to taking a break and explore Morocco with IES Abroad. I am most looking forward to learning Arabic and living with a host family.<br><br>Fun Fact: A few summers ago I drove from Michigan to California to hike in Yosemite and see a total eclipse!</p>