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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Evelyn in Morocco

Evelyn Cruz ’19  is a major in International Relations and minor in Islamic World Studies who studied at Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco.

Morocco, the Maghreb- “where and when the sun sets”. This country is one of a kind. Its beauty is hard to compare. The Moroccan people and the culture envelopes you quickly into making you feel at home. Coming to Morocco has been very rewarding to opening my mind to seeing the world from a North African point of view in academia. There have been times where it has been challenging to understand and fully comprehend the way that my school teaches, but the history and content has really been expanding. I have learned to differentiate between North African culture and the Middle East, which before I thought of as homogenous. Adapting to Morocco was at times difficult and overwhelming, but now those things that I found difficult and overwhelming are the things that I can not imagine living without. One of the most rewarding experiences that I got from one of my classes was that we would volunteer with migrants from Southern countries in Africa. Morocco is not a final destination, but Migrants must pass through Morocco to get to Europe. Hearing and talking to these migrants about their journey really helped contextualize the dynamic between Africa and Europe. These two continents have a very deep and long history, that I previously was not as fully aware of. Morocco’s mixture of French, Spanish, Berbers and Arab is what makes this country so interesting. I never thought you could love a country so much. Morocco has certainly become a home to me and its colorfulness vibrant cities and warm people are things that I can not imagine living without anymore.