Monday, December 20, 2010

Morocco and Home

My study abroad experience has come to what feels like a very abrupt end. But although it was far too short, and I was very sad to say goodbye to Barcelona and all the people I met there, it's nice to be home with family and friends, after a two days of stressful travel hell due to a snowstorm in London. Apparently they don't really know how to deal with "la nieva" in jolly old England.
The week before I left I went on a cultural exchange trip to Morocco through a phenomenal program called Morocco Exchange. We spent two days in a rural village called Amizmiz, and one night in the more touristy but still incredibly unique city of Marrakech, abound with snake charmers and monkeys. Amizmiz was incredible. The people were more hospitable than imaginable, and the Moroccan food, tea, and culture was like nothing I've ever experienced before. The people have very little, but they would give you the shirt off their backs if you needed it. An Islamic society, Morocco is actually one of the most progressive Muslim countries in the world. But it's still set up as a hierarchical society where men are the dominant members of society.
However, society is becoming more and more modernized and equal, and the newest King of the 3rd world nation enacted legislation which allows for women to officially petition for divorce if it is necessary, which had previously been illegal.
I came away from the experience with a respect for Moroccan people and culture, and a greater appreciation for the freedoms and opportunities we've been so lucky to be afforded here in the U.S.
And that goes for the entire "study abroad" experience. Barcelona is an incredible city that is all at once historical, cosmopolitan, modern and traditional, and one I think every should see once in their lives. But I'm glad to be home, and will appreciate my mom's cooking and being with my family and friends for the holiday all the more now that I've been away for some time. If you're considering going abroad-DO IT. I don't think the experience could ever be negative, as no matter where you are or how your time abroad goes, you'll learn things about yourself, your culture, and the culture of others that you will never forget.