Why did you decide to study abroad and why did you decide to spend your semester in Morocco specifically?
I decided to study abroad in order to put my Arabic studies to use, and to study gender in a different context. I was deciding between programs in Jordan and Morocco, and wound up picking Morocco because I realized that I could both practice my French and surf there!
Tell us about your study abroad experience in and outside the classroom.
The experience of living in the old cobblestone medina of Rabat with a host-family and making Moroccan friends through training at the local track in Fez supplemented my program's academics and excursions through the country. A week long stay in a rural village showed me a drastically different Moroccan lifestyle from the westernized, French-influenced city life of Rabat. I spent three weeks working on an independent study of prison reform alongside the organization Search for Common Ground to gain as much information and access to a highly censored subject. I was also able to witness the Arab Spring develop and interview protestors who were more than willing to share their motivations for demonstrating in the streets. It was fascinating to see people of all ages and backgrounds picnic in front of Parliament peacefully demanding change from their country's government.
Does international travel or work figure into any of your future plans?
Of course! I'm actually writing from Iten, Kenya where I am tutoring and training with students who have been selected out of the top students in Kenya who will be applying to schools in the U.S. Eventually, I hope to work with international education.