Introducing Spring 2019 Blog Correspondent: Lane Fisher
About a year ago I sent in my application to study abroad in Morocco, a country that had fascinated me ever since a brief mention in a world history class. The past five or so months have been a whirlwind, I previously studied at Al Akhwayn University in Ifrane, a snowy mountain “Swiss-village” and am now only a few weeks away from the Regional Studies in French program in Rabat!
Originally I also come from a snowy mountain village, although ‘village’ is a stretch. My town in Vermont contains about 1000 people and I’ve spent my childhood hiking, skiing, and tapping maple trees for syrup. Protected by snowy peaks, Vermont has always been a safe haven, slightly cut off from reality. Or at least it always seemed that way to me.
When I entered middle school I was accidentally thrown into a French class, which changed my life. My professor wound French around us in dizzying patterns, injecting us with knowledge about a global world I had barely understood. A year into her class I had applied to study abroad in France, only just making the age limit cut off, and was whisked away to study French with a host family in the south of Brittany. Studying abroad is powerful, formative, and scary. At fifteen I was taken care of, but desperately alone. Unable to ask for shampoo, I spent months struggling with the language and culture, and while it was the hardest year of my life, it was also by far the best.
I left France desperate for French, craving the feeling of understanding another culture through its own tongue, and set my sights on Morocco. French and Arabic speaking, this country held a fascination over me that caught me up and held me, and I pursued it.
At the George Washington University I studied French and International Affairs, hopeful for more opportunities to travel and learn while abroad. To my advisers dismay, a year abroad just barely managed to squeeze into my schedule, and off to Morocco I went.
Living in Morocco has been unlike anything I have ever known before, just like most other experiences. It is captivating, exciting, and just a little bit unnerving. Interests expand, are expounded upon, grow from nothing. I am determined this semester to learn how to cook. There is no way I will leave this country and not learn the finer points of Moroccan cuisine. Working on my Arabic and French are also points of worry and excitement, a struggle that I cannot wait to begin.
I am grateful, and nervous for the coming semester. Homesick after a visit from my parents and partner, and missing my dog, Rufus, and cat, Tima like crazy, I continue to find myself wowed by this culture and by the people here. On the way to the train station I am stopped and offered tissues by a concerned stranger, on the way to my hostel I notice food I have never seen before, the people in my new temporary home are wonderful and kind and full of experiences they want to share. I have lived here a semester and I am only just getting started, there is still so much to learn, do, and so many people I cannot wait to meet!!
Lane Fisher is an undergraduate student at the George Washington University and is currently on the Regional Studies in French program in Morocco.