Studying abroad through Binghamton University gave me the traditional experience I was looking for. I spent the spring semester at Al Akhawayn University in the Middle Atlas Mountain region of Morocco.
After already participating in a few educational trips abroad–I was seeking a holistic, conventional experience in Morocco. I was able to encounter more than I possibly imagined. I spent a weekend camping in the Sahara Desert, hiked in the rural High Atlas Mountains, met with a United States Diplomat, progressed my Arabic language skills, and even attended a welcome ceremony for Pope Francis’ hosted by the Moroccan King (and made an appearance on national television.)
I was able discover privilege and self-advocacy on a deeper level. While reflecting on my short time in this country, I thought about how diverse this world is. I have been blessed to see all different aspects of life within this country. From beaches in urban areas, desert life, and small communities in mountainous regions–I was exposed to the beauty of both urban and rural life. I was able to learn about cultural and language differences, financial disparities, religion, government, food, and so much more.
Morocco has taught me about the importance of community and family. Morocco taught me about cultural preservation. Morocco taught me about respect, peace, and dignity. There is rich history in every corner of this country. Wrapping up my third and final study abroad program is bittersweet but being able to travel has been something remarkably special. Each memory in a country is a part of a greater collective experience. You learn a lot about yourself and the world around you; and Morocco will always be one of my favorites.
Dylan Marshall, a UAlbany student, studied at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco in spring 2019.