Tag Archives: Morocco

SPRING BREAK

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For spring break I went back home (home is Madrid for those of you who don’t know!) because my grandpa was sick and since my family is mostly abroad we try to go visit as much as we can. Apart of making my grandparents really happy I was able to see my friends and fly for a couple
days to Morocco (Fact: the shortest border between Europe and Africa is the Gibraltar Strait that separates Spain and Morocco by 14 kilometers and where both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet).

Madrid is a really beautiful city located in the center of the Iberian Peninsula, where Spain and Portugal are. With around 6 million inhabitants, Madrid is one of the most important European
cities and an really welcoming hub for immigrants from Latin America and North and Sub- Saharan African countries, as well as Eastern Europeans. This has enriched Madrid, turning it into a multicultural, diverse and unique spot loved by tourists from all around the world.

What I loved the most about going back for the break was definitely the weather. Since the moment I landed I was able to get rid of my coat and my scarf, enjoy the early spring, make a barbecue with my friends and just lay down in my yard with my bunny pet. (Who doesn’t want a
picture of a bunny?!)

Also, even though I didn’t know about it when I bought the plane tickets, I was able to attend my Masters graduation that was scheduled for the same day I arrived! As some of you might know, this is my second BA program and during my junior and sophomore years I studied a MA in
Madrid, for which I just graduated. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bring much luggage and my mom decided to be my stylist. This was the result.

Another great thing I was able to do was to lecture in my home university. A professor requested me to lecture his two hours course in “Security Models” on Monday and so I did. I prepared a lecture about the differences between Spain and the US when talking about prisons, gun control and incarceration. (I highly recommend a documentary in Netflix called 13th about mass incarceration in the US and slavery). I had 62 students and I had so much fun. Here you can see me faking it until I make it.

After this exhausting vacation I went to Fes, in Morocco to visit Amine, a friend I actually met at GW during the fall semester. Although I barely had two days there we drove (just him, to be honest I shit my pants just by thinking about driving in Morocco) 1,000 kilometers! We went to Ifrane, where his university is, and then we went to Rabat, which is by the coast since I’m a sea lover. There I was able to lie in the sand and nap while just relaxing which is something I miss so much when in DC. Then we came back to Fes, one of the oldest cities in Morocco, from where I flew back to Madrid before heading back to DC. Here are some pictures.

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This is the End

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This is it, the end of my journey in GWU. I can’t believe it’s already here, the end of one of the best semesters I had so far. But yeah, we all knew this time will come sooner or later. Here I am sitting in the airport waiting for my flight and writing my final blogpost for the semester. I never thought this moment will come by this fast, but time flies here in GWU. Last week was such a hectic week. From finals to the last goodbye parties, it was so emotional to live the last days of the semester.

Studying abroad was an experience that I enjoyed so much. For me being an exchange student meant experiencing a new culture, traveling a lot, meeting new people, and adapting to a new environment that is very different from the one I live in my home country Morocco. Washington DC was one of the greatest places to live in. I really enjoyed living in the city center of the capital of the US and visit all the monuments, museums and touristy spots whenever I felt like: late at night, on sunrise or on sunset… One of the things that I’m very glad I did this semester were all the trip I did around America. Starting from Baltimore, to New York to Florida, to Mexico to Canada to Cuba and finishing with the West coast. I’m so grateful I had the chance to travel around the continent, discover new cultures and take more and more pictures. I believe that being in the US helped me visiting new places I never thought I will visit from Morocco.

Travel was great but the most precious thing I earned this semester were the friendships with people from all around the world. Before coming to the US, I knew I will meet people with whom I will have fun and spend good time. But I never expected that I’ll meet people that will become family in such a short period. I met people with whom I laughed, cried, danced, cooked (mostly pasta and ramen), traveled to exotic places, sang, chilled at dorm on lazy days, spent hours in Gelman procrastinating, and more and more. And I’m grateful I shared the best moments of my GWU journey with them. I think the worst part of the study abroad is the fact that these people will not be around on a daily basis. But memories never fade away and I’ll never forget about all what we lived in GWU. I believe that we will meet again somewhere in the world, maybe in Morocco (such a great country to visit lol) *coughcough* or maybe somewhere else. I know we might be in opposite sides of the planet, but I know for sure our friendships will not end here. The boarding time of my flight to West coast is here, which means I need to end this blogpost here.

GWU was great, the US was great and special thanks to all the people who made my semester memorable. Can’t wait to come back to DC again. It was a BLAST.

IG:@Sarajebbar

Halloween Week

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I know it’s not the Halloween week yet, but in the US they start celebrating it the whole month of October and especially this week. In Morocco, we celebrate many holidays during the year. So, coming from a cultural-rich region makes holidays my favorite period of the year. I was so excited to experience Halloween in the US since in my country we’re not used to celebrate it. We only have some parties going on the night of Halloween and that’s all. But here, it’s a whole new level.

During the week, there were many Pre-Halloween events organized by the university. Donuts, apple cider and candies were served everywhere for FREE. The scary Halloween decorations were all over the places on campus. They also organized a pumpkin carving event in which you can carve your pumpkin and take it with you for free. Me and my roommates decided to take 2 pumpkins home to get in the spooky vibe. There was also that event that I really loved in Kogan Plaza where they served popcorn, cotton candies, pizzas, burgers, and a lot of candies. Being the foodie person that I am, Halloween celebration was happiness for me and I wouldn’t tell you much candies I brought home with me to survive the next days. And to get more in the Halloween vibes, we also decided to bake ghost-themed brownies and share them with our friends.

Even if it’s not Halloween yet, there were a lot of parties organized this weekend. But I wasn’t very lost between my options since they were already limited because of my underage. I was so confused about my costume but at the end I went for the mainstream skeleton. We had so much fun and it was definitely much more better than the Halloween parties we have in my country. It was also really funny to see people in all types of costumes walking DC’s streets during all the nights of the weekend. I’d say that Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next Tuesday in the actual day of Halloween.

I’m FINALLY in the US

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After a flight from Casablanca to Paris, another one to New York, two Airtrains from JFK to the bus station, four hours bus from New York to Washington DC and a taxi, and I’M FINALLY AT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY.

It’s true that I was super exhausted especially after pushing two large suitcases and a heavy “extra-large” backpack for long hours. But I can’t describe how excited I was to finally be in the US and start the orientation week. If I have to use one word to describe this week, I’ll say that the orientation week was LIT.

 

 

Basically, the orientation week was a combination of necessary things we had to do and fun activities.We attended many conferences about life in GWU and DC, academics, housing, health, registration… We also had many trips to Target, banks, phone providers. Having these activities was really helpful especially when you don’t know anything about the life in the US. But I bet you don’t want to know more details about these so let’s move to the fun part of the orientation. We had a US Capitol tour, the White House and moonlight monuments tour. In Morocco, we didn’t study anything about America in any of our high-school history classes. So, I really loved being in the heart of the American history and getting to know more about the culture and the stories of previous presidents. (FACT: Did you know that a bathtub where a certain president died is still in the Capitol).

 

 

 

 

 

We also had a Georgetown tour. This place reminded me a lot of Europe: nice architecture, a variety of shopping stores and different “smelling-good” restaurants. The tour was kind of short but I’m definitely planning to come back to try different cupcakes the neighborhood is offering. The last event that was SO fun was the Washington Nationals Game. In Morocco, Baseball is not that common, I even think that we don’t have a baseball team. So, that was my first time watching a game. Of course, I didn’t understand a thing about the game and its rules and I was just cheering for the team when people were doing so. What I liked the most about the game was the exciting atmosphere and taking a lot of pictures in the stadium haha.

But what I loved the most about orientation week is: People. The orientation team and the ExO leaders were so nice and helpful. You realize tell how much time they spent before our arrival to prepare for such well organized and successful orientation. We also had many ice-breaking games with all the exchange students. During this week, I spent time with people from all over the world. So not only I got to know American culture but also each student’s culture. It was so interesting to share the differences between our countries and the US and getting to know each other more during this week.

That week was certainly the perfect way to start my journey in GWU. Well, summer vacation is ending and classes are going to start soon and by now I think I’m ready for that. (Not sure though T.T)

Stay Tuned

IG: @SaraJebbar

Who am I? Greetings from Morocco

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Receiving an acceptance email from the Office for Study Abroad of GWU was the beginning of the best things that are going to happen to me during this exchange program. And I’m so glad that I’m going to share my adventures with the entire world to see. But I bet you are wondering who am I?

I’m Sara, a twenty year old Moroccan girl who is going to finally realize her childhood dream by visiting the land of freedom, the United States of America. I still remember the first time I watched an American TV-show. I was nine years old and it was a Hannah Montana episode. From those days, I realized that the first country in my bucket list is definitely the United States and I realized how much I loved English songs and I needed to learn English.

From there started my journey to learn English. Yes, starting by listening to English songs with French subtitles on YouTube. I always knew that I wanted to pursue my studies in English that’s why I enrolled Al Akhawayn University for a bachelor in Business Administration. AUI, unlike the majority of the Moroccan universities where courses are taught in French, is an American-system based university. I have chosen this university because I knew that someday I would want to live in the US (I didn’t expect that it would be that earlier though).

I’m Sara, a twenty years old girl born and raised in Morocco. I’m really hoping that you knew or at least heard about the country from where I came. Morocco is a small country in North Africa. My geography sucks but if you swim 5000km (3106mi) from Agadir, my hometown straight through the Atlantic ocean, you will end up somewhere in Miami beach. And I’ve always dreamt of getting to the other side of the ocean. If I have to describe Morocco I would definitely say that it is known by the hospitality of its people, the delicious food and the mix of the different cultures it has. Morocco is that slowly-paced country, not very developed and where people are living peacefully together. It has also a cool architecture. (Notice some Moroccan designs in the background of my picture *Advertizing*)

Now I’m going to start a new journey of my life in a totally different country. I don’t have any expectations. To be honest I just don’t like expectations. They are either too high that you end up getting depressed when they are not met or too low that they are preventing you from seeing the good side of things around you. I’m just a simple person who believes that living and embracing each moment of the present life is the best way to enjoy the life. My philosophy must sound confusing or messed up. In simple words, I’m just so grateful to go there. I just know that I want to travel and discover this beautiful country and its people.

I’m so excited to share my experiences and adventures in the big United States with you from the eyes of a simple Moroccan girl. Stay tuned.

IG: @Sarajebbar