Flying to Rabat, Morocco

Skylar Sundquist
January 30, 2020

I’m so excited to study abroad in Morocco. I chose Morocco for a few reasons. First, I’ve always wanted to learn Arabic. Many people have emphasized the best way to learn a new language is to live in an area where that is the primary language, so Morocco seemed like the right choice. I know I won’t become fluent in a new language overnight, but this semester will give me a good start. Second, I wanted to study abroad somewhere that would challenge me to step outside of my comfort zone and give me the chance to learn and grow. Over this semester, I hope to share my journey in a way that accurately reflects my experience and the country I am visiting.

Prepping for study abroad has been interesting. I always wait last minute to do, well, pretty much everything. But doing things last minute really, really, really stresses me out. As usual, I waited last minute to pack. I’d been thinking about packing since mid-December but simply thinking about packing is very different than actually packing. The day before my flight left for Rabat, I was scrambling to get my luggage at the correct weight. Suddenly a lot of ‘necessary’ items weren’t quite as necessary as I previously thought.

Two people saying goodbye in an airport

I extended my time abroad, which further complicated my packing. After my semester in Rabat with IES Abroad, I’ll be in Austria for a month participating in a program through my home school. While I was packing, I had to consider how much luggage I wanted to haul around with me after the program ended. I’m happy to say that I did get my luggage down to the acceptable weight! (The picture above was taken after I checked my main suitcase in).

I’ve been planning my time abroad for two years, it took quite a bit of schedule finessing to be able to study abroad. Despite this, the magnitude of studying abroad still hasn’t quite hit me. My brain is struggling to comprehend how different my life is about to be. I’ve read most of the blogs from past IES bloggers in Rabat. This has helped me feel more prepared to leave my home country and make Morocco my home for the next few months.

I’ve kept myself busy since my last semester at Hope College ended. I was able to sneak quite a few hours shadowing physicians to prepare to apply to medical school this June (right after my semester in Rabat – it’s unbelievable!). And I’m newly engaged, so I spent a lot of my downtime planning our upcoming wedding. These things have kept me busy enough that I didn’t have the chance to overthink everything about study abroad! (Hopefully I'm prepared enough?)

The view of the airport from a passenger sitting in a plane window

As I write this, I’m taking off for the first flight on my journey and Chicago is getting smaller and smaller. It now looks like a tiny toy city. I’ve said all of my teary-eyed goodbyes. I am going to miss my friends and family immensely. But I can't wait for the adventure that awaits when I step off the plane in Rabat.

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Skylar Sundquist

<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&nbsp;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>

2020 Spring
Home University:
Hope College
Big Rapids, MI
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