Why did you choose your study abroad program specifically?
I chose to study abroad in Morocco due to my pursuit of both French and Arabic language study at Bowdoin and my desire to really solidify my skills in these languages through actual immersion, and Morocco is one of the few countries where Arabic and French coexist as spoken languages. I chose to enroll into the CIEE program in Rabat, Morocco because it provided me with the opportunity to receive credits for my French degree and to continue my study of Arabic language. It also allowed me to experience the culture of a place that I had studied since I arrived at Bowdoin.
How did you connect your off-campus study with your Bowdoin academics, before leaving and upon your return?
I completed an honors project within the French Department entitled “The Amazigh People: From Antiquity to the Contemporary Period,” and it examines the history and literary productions of the Amazigh (or Berber) people. The Amazigh people, indigenous to the Maghreb region, make up 40% of Morocco’s population, and I was exposed to their language and culture on a daily basis. The project is 128 pages, written in French, and while it was definitely an academic challenge, it was also extremely rewarding to complete. My time in Morocco helped to further convince me that a career involving international travel was my calling. This September, I will voyage to the University of Western Brittany in Brest, France to work as a teacher’s assistant for a year. I am excited to further my studies of French language and culture while in Brest, and will be visiting Morocco as many times as I can during my time there as well.
What advice can you give to current Bowdoin students about going abroad?
I would highly encourage embarking on such an experience! The change in perspective that I received in Morocco affected me in a monumental and lasting way. I incorporated what I learned in Morocco through the writing of my honors project, and I will continue to incorporate my knowledge through the use of French and Arabic in my professional life after Bowdoin.