We have asked one of our fall students, Armani Gladden of Old Dominion University, to help spread the news from Rabat for our first newsletter of the semester. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Armani now can be found making friends wherever he goes around Rabat in both Darija (Moroccan Arabic) and French, and catching some waves at the local beach. Enjoy the updates and keep an eye out for out next issue!
Armani lost in the ruins of Chellah
Friday, September 18, 2015.
Salamu 3alaykum and greetings from the Morocco! We are two weeks into the program and I am honored to be able to write the first program update. As of today, we have officially finished the orientation period, including our two week intensive Darija course, which we all can agree on lived up to its title. We arrived Friday, Sept.4th, and were greeted by CIEE staff, whether having flown in to Casablanca or Rabat. We had our initial orientation for two days at Hotel Ibis in Agdal, Rabat, and we unanimously agreed that staying at the hotel was a great way to transition and catch up on sleep (especially for those who flew all the way from California). Host family arrangements were given out on that Sunday and thus the cultural immersion began.
The Fall 2015 group
Thus far, we have had two excursions: a guided tour in Rabat to Challah Roman ruins and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, and a guided tour through Meknes. With the help of the "CIEE buddies" we learn how to navigate parts of the city quickly while getting to see some of the best that Rabat has to offer. We have clashed head-on with the cultural “iceberg” that is Moroccan culture, and we are challenging ourselves and each other to view things not through our own cultural lenses, but with a fresh perspective, a blank canvass that will paint itself over the next 3 months.
The group visiting Volubilis outside of Meknes
Excited to report that classes began this upcoming Monday, September 21st. Courses offered this 2015 Fall term include: Modern Standard Arabic (mandatory for all students- early beginner through mid intermediate levels), Contemporary Moroccan Society and Culture, The Arab Spring and Birth of the Arab Citizen, Northern Africa and France: Historical and Political Perspectives (taught in French!), The Koran, and Darija!
Also we are excited to all participate in the festivities of Eid, the most revered Islamic holiday, which starts next week on Sept. 23rd. I look forward to all the learning and growth this experience will provide us and I hope to discover why Moroccans love their mint tea!
Until next time CIEE family!
STUDENT OF THE MONTH:
Adelaide and Naz at the Roman ruins of Wallili
Hometown: Nashville, TN
School: Johns Hopkins University
Favorite Moroccan cuisine: DATES ON DATES ON DATES.
Favorite thing to do in Rabat: Run to the lighthouse on the beach and people watch on the balcony of Cafe Renaissance!
Adelaide is a junior at Johns Hopkins, studying Applied Mathematics & Statistics and French Cultural Studies. A music-lover and photography enthusiast, she has been absolutely enveloped in the vibrant culture that Rabat has to offer. She often enjoys going out with her peers, and on her own, to explore the city’s many cultural sites, cafes, and art exhibits, such as the Musée Mohammed VI d’Art Moderne et Contemporaine. Adelaide, like the rest of us, is thrilled to spend the next 15 weeks here!