Living in Arabic

Living in Arabic

Name: Emily Bader ’18
Major: International Relations
Hometown: Los Angeles
Program: Middlebury Schools Abroad, Rabat, Morocco

What drew you to the program in Rabat?

I was drawn to Morocco for its multiculturalism, as it exists at a crossroads between North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. I wanted an opportunity to continue learning about its complex and multifaceted history, from the empires of the Middle Ages to its time as a French colony.

What is your academic program like?

The Middlebury in Morocco program is an intensive, immersive language program. I have one course in modern standard Arabic, one course in modern colloquial Arabic (or Darija), and two content courses—Media Culture in Morocco and Contemporary Political Issues in Morocco and North Africa. The program is in partnership with Mohammed V University. After my first week here, I signed the Language Pledge, which means I am committed to only speaking Arabic for the entirety of my program. This extends to all aspects of my daily life, from classes to hanging out with friends.

Where are you living?

I am living with a host family in the Ocean neighborhood of Rabat.

What’s your favorite part of your day? Your least favorite?

Lunch at the university. We (there are only six of us in the program—this is the first year Middlebury has a program in Morocco) have two classes in the morning and one in the afternoon. Lunch is a nice way to break up the day, spend time with the other students, and get some homework done. My least favorite is my morning commute. I take the tram to Souissi, where the university is. There are a ton of students every morning, and we’re packed like sardines.

What surprised you most about life in Morocco?

Sometimes I think the high schoolers I ride the tram with in the morning were plucked out of my high school.

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