In early October, ISA Meknes Resident Director Iman Essamati came to the US and visited several ISA partner universities – the University of Colorado, Boulder; Colorado State University (CSU); the University of Denver (DU); Regis University; Arizona State University (ASU); Texas A&M; and St Edwards University.
The plan was to meet with study abroad advisers and professors on those campuses to understand more about the academic expectations for their students while studying abroad, as well as to promote the ISA Morocco program.
During my visit to those campuses I realized that I knew many of the study abroad advisers and professors, some of whom I’d met a few years ago in Morocco. I felt very welcomed and honored (on the campuses), especially when I saw posters with my name on the study abroad office door and on the meeting tables where I met former ISA students, prospective students, and professors as they joined me for a coffee.
My visit to each campus was an opportunity to learn more about the students we host during their studies abroad in Morocco and Meknes and their home university’s culture.
The highlights of my US trip, I would definitely say were my meetings with ISA alumni on their home campuses, either the meetings that were arranged by the study abroad offices or by random meetings in the corridors of those campuses. Some of them were very emotional, such as my meeting with Julie at CSU who was told about my visit by her Arabic professor.
Or Olivia at ASU, who posted on her Insta story – “Only reason I would ever be up early on campus on a Friday… @imanessamati” accompanied with a pic of both of us!
Others reunions were happy and nostalgic, such as my meeting with Natasha, Nathan, and Virginia. We talked for an hour about their memories from Morocco and they said they would not trade them for anything in the world.
On other campuses like DU, Regis, and Texas A&M, I met students randomly (while walking on campus) and was surprised by students calling my name, “Iman! What are you doing here!?”
Another highlight of this trip was seeing two of my former students from Texas A&M who now work with ISA at our Austin office. It was nice having the chance to travel with one of them to her home university for a study abroad fair, as a colleague.
Overall, my trip was eye opening on so many levels and essential to my career development and professional growth.