Taylor Moore is a student at Grand Valley State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Taylor has been studying abroad in Meknes, Morocco on the ISA Summer 2 program.
After being abroad since early May, I can safely evaluate my time being overseas. During this period, I have successfully completed ISA’s in Morocco, had life-changing experiences, and forged new friendships. Moreover, when my friends and family ask me about my new host community I am usually at a loss on how to answer. My dilemma is finding a sufficient way of vocalizing all of my feelings about Morocco. The best and most effective way that I can describe living in a different socio-cultural environment is to equate it to various stages one goes through when learning something new. Initially I was intimidated by Morocco and all of its complexities. For instance, I did not understand the differences between the two primary taxi services in Meknes, or the art of the double cheek kiss upon greeting someone that I struggled to master smoothly. However, once I came to the realization that I was bound to make social faux pas, my time in Morocco became a lot more enjoyable. Overtime I learned from my mistakes and embraced my errors and awkwardness as a learning tool. Now, after one full program, I am beginning to think of Meknes as my home. This happened the moment people in my day to day life would smile at me with friendship and familiarity. It continued when I began to make friendships and do well in my classes. Overall, my most significant realization after being abroad for summer one is that becoming well acquainted with a place, person, or group takes time and patience.
Before coming abroad I knew that I wanted to keep a blog to document my experiences. I firmly believe that experiences like these are valuable and significant and therefore deserve a proper platform to document your travels. Before leaving on my summer excursions I knew that it would be a terrible waste to not have a way of reflecting on my experiences in Morocco. Many of my friends who had done previous study abroad programs had used postcards, vlogs, facebook, and photography as a mode of recording their trip. However, I choose to do a blog not only as an ISA featured blogger, but on my personal travel blog so that I could take other people along on my travels. Blogging served my needs of documenting my trip creatively and allowing my family, friends, and readers to comment and post to me. Furthermore, on my blog I plan to use a lot of pictures and video to add more substance to both of my blogs. I’ve always felt that for my own satisfaction, pictures and writings never seemed fully sufficient in capturing the essence of an experience. Many times I take pictures that have a lot of personal relevance to me, but many people are unable to see it because they weren’t there. With my videos, my aim is to capture moments and memories that would be hard to explain solely through words or pictures.
So, as my summer 2 session quickly approaches, I hope to have another round of new experiences with a new group of people. Moreover, I plan on having more awkward moments and learning experiences. It is also my hope to immerse myself further into this beautiful country and its culture. While doing so, I look forward to taking my family, friends, and readers with me for the duration of my journey. Hopefully you find happiness and understanding in either my pictures, videos, writings, or both.