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African Snowball Fight: Adventures in Tangier

Annie McGregor Facebook

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Studying abroad in Tangier, Morocco has been one of the best experiences of my life thus far. I have learned so much about an entirely new culture, gained so much awareness regarding how other people live, and built new friendships.

In the four months that we have been here in Tangier, we have seen and done so much; we never stop traveling and exploring. Though it would be nice to have a few more free weekends so that we can make our own independent plans, it has been so wonderful to go on many small excursion trips to different cities, some several hours from Tangier, free of charge. Plus, these mandatory trips have kept our group tight-knit. Already, we have seen a plethora of cities, played with monkeys, had an African snowball fight (yes, there is actually snow here!), and so much more. As if the traveling wasn’t enough, the school administrators have many connections, many of whom are willing to work with the students here. Because of this, many students have been able to get involved with activities related to their majors. This has included volunteering and shadowing at an animal shelter, orphanage, and hospital. It is has been amazing to witness, first-hand, all of the cultural differences and practices in these various places. Some students even got to witness the birth of a baby via cesarean section in the hospital!

In regards to the classes here on the UNE Tangier campus, there have been many struggles, but there is much room for potential. Taking classes that are taught by professors of a completely different culture can be challenging, but is a really great experience. There is room for improvement in classes, especially in organic chemistry. Though it is really exciting that we have Moroccan  professors, sometimes the language barrier becomes a bit too large to overcome at times, so it may be beneficial to have an English-speaking teacher for a tough and required course such as this. I am a bit nervous about my grades for the semester, but I have gained so much other knowledge in different ways.  Also, teaching style here is very different than back in America; the professors don’t always heed the syllabi or hand graded work back, and they weigh attitude and participation heavily. It has been so interesting to see all of the similarities and differences in these teaching styles.

It has been amazing to also maintain a campus-like lifestyle while being in this new country. Dining is very convenient, as the cafeteria and lounge area is located immediately below the dorm rooms. With only twenty-one students on campus, and not many places for girls to go out independently, it can sometimes be difficult to find some alone-time, though. But, it has been so nice to build and strengthen new relationships with not only the other students here, but also the Moroccan  people. It was pleasantly surprising to see how open and welcoming most of the people are towards Americans here. Girls do get hooted and  hollered at often on the streets, but it is something that I have found  is something that can be ignored eventually.

In short, I would not trade this experience for the world. Though there are several things in regards to education that could use tweaking, the UNE Tangier campus has extremely great potential and has left me with a bigger cultural understanding and an even bigger desire to explore more parts of the world. I highly recommend that anyone who is able to study abroad definitely should – it is something that won’t be soon forgotten! It will certainly be sad to leave this amazing city and all that it has to offer.

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