Reflections and Realizations – Michelle Rodriguez

Coming back home from Morocco, everything seems outside reality. From the countless commercial businesses to the spaced out living styles of residents, I feel the familiarity of home tinged with a constant comparison of here vs. there. Six weeks in Morocco was enough for me to question everything I casually overlooked throughout the constant motions of everyday life.

For example, Morocco’s monarchy and government limited local residents from impacting the internal power structure due to the absence of elections of political figures. In a sense, locals participating within a political context wasn’t so much discouraged as it was futile in directly influencing Moroccan politics . Despite the monarchy’s inherent responsibility including the interpretation of their subjects needs, I couldn’t help but be critical of its lack of democracy. My criticisms forced me to think in terms of my own ability to participate in American politics yet my lack of active citizenship. By analyzing the constrictions of others, I realized that my previous perspective of “I alone can’t really change anything,” is not the case. Often, I’ve seen and heard (through my own experiences and documentaries) of the immigrants’ dream of coming to the US, where everything by default is better. As Americans, however, we become desensitized to our privileges and our ability to individually mold our societies to best fit our needs. Study abroad in Morocco heightened my awareness of myself as a character within the constantly changing political and social contexts.



Political talk aside, I realized I brought more than what I expected back to America: the culture and language of Morocco. Less than 24 hours in the US and I have had to fight the internal impulse to respond in Moroccan Arabic numerous times. Personally, the phrase Inshallah –meaning “if God wills it” – will be a permanent addition to my vocabulary. Its meaning extending across serious and casual situations. Its versatile nature has captured the hearts of me and my classmates alike. For instance, Inshallah I will get the internship I applied for the Fall semester. Inshallah, I will go to class to today. Inshallah, this blog post won’t be late. This term has taught me that not everything may be possible and that you shouldn’t dwell on it. The laid back Moroccan culture has encouraged me to distance myself from stressful environments and take things at my own pace.

This enitre cultural immersion has forced me to re-interpret myself. In the process, I have come to new realizations about the world around me and a new way of understanding others within their own societies. My time in Morocco was as beautiful as it was educational in both the formal classroom setting and the informal backdrop of the bustling cities.

1 comment to Reflections and Realizations – Michelle Rodriguez

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