IES Abroad Program: Rabat - Study in Rabat, Fall 2015
U.S. College / University: University of Richmond
Major: English Literature, Visual and Media Arts Practice Minor
Current Profession: "I am an Associate Producer at AJ+, a millennial-focused online news channel from Al Jazeera with 10 million+ Facebook followers. I produce daily videos covering stories on a range of topics, anywhere from the #MeToo movement, to the Rohingya genocide, to Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano eruption."
What words would you use to describe your identity(ies)?
Bangladeshi, American, Muslim, woman, artist, petite :)
What motivated you to choose to study abroad?
My host university had a strong international education office and offered a lot of guidance, as well as financial support. I also wanted to study abroad in an ecologically diverse location where I could also practice Arabic, and studying abroad in Morocco was a perfect fit.
When you studied abroad, did your identity(ies) influence your experience in significant and/or surprising ways? If so, how?
Certainly, who we are, I think, shapes how each of us interprets and makes sense of any experience. As a minority in the U.S., it was different to finally experience what it felt like to blend in. But, surprisingly enough, at the same time, I also found myself identifying more as an "American," and was able to reconcile with my complex intersectional identities.
Has studying abroad impacted your educational and/or professional aspirations or path? If so, how?
Moving halfway across the country was a terrifying decision for me. If I hadn't gone abroad and already experienced what it was like to leave home for four months, I don't think I would have taken such a bold leap and pursued storytelling professionally. And, beyond that, I had (and at times still do have) very little faith in myself—as a first-generation college student, from a low-income family—to think I can take these risks. But going abroad, participating in the IES Abroad Study Abroad Film Festival, and meeting incredible women like Kiah and Amy has given me more confidence to believe in myself.