Introducing Spring 2018 Blog Correspondent: Mallory Mrozinski
Hello readers! My name is Mallory Eleanor, and I'm studying abroad with AMIDEAST in Rabat, Morocco this semester. I'm hoping that my blog posts can serve not only as an insight to my adventures (both academic and worldly), but as a way for me to look back on my thoughts and feelings as I immerse myself in a completely new language and culture. While I am naturally a little bit nervous about my first time traveling internationally by myself, I cannot help but feel that my excitement for the opportunity ahead overshadows my nervous jitters.
As I will be posting about my semester abroad periodically through the AMIDEAST student blog Mosaic, I think I should take a moment to briefly introduce myself. My home institution is SUNY Geneseo in rural western New York. Geneseo has come to be my favorite place and a home-away-from-home; I know I'll be missing it very much while I'm halfway around the planet. Some activities I enjoy at Geneseo are performing in an acapella group, tutoring ESL students, doing community service with my sorority, and finding new adventures with my friends. I am a double major in Political Science and French, and am involved in both departments. Seeing these two fields interact in Morocco will really pique my interest, and I'm sure that I'll be learning a lot about both, inside the classroom and beyond.
Morocco, though it has a long and varied history of its own, was under French control for 44 years. One major impact of this period of time that has lasted is the prominence of French language in Morocco and other parts of the MENA region. I chose Morocco as my study abroad destination in an attempt to do something different and experience a lifestyle different from the Anglo-Saxon upbringing I’ve encountered thus far. Coming from a culturally homogeneous community in Upstate New York, I am thrilled to be getting out of my comfort zone and completely immersing myself in a culture so different than my own. Other interests of mine include listening to and discovering new music, watching both professional and collegiate sports like basketball (Go Celtics) and football with my brothers, going on long hikes with my friends, and going out to eat (especially if my parents are footing the bill!). During my time abroad I hope to continue doing all of these things, and am thrilled to see the effects that Moroccan culture has on them all.
While I have been studying French for nearly half of my life, I must admit to myself and to the reader that I don't know a single word of Arabic! Believe it or not, this does not scare me. I know that I can catch on, and that the Arabic language instruction provided by AMIDEAST will help me to navigate a new city, in a new country, in a new language. One challenge I await excitedly is the opportunity to see fresh faces and new sights every single day. If anything, I look forward to coming home to my small city of Schenectady, New York, and wowing all the locals with my knowledge of a language that I doubt any of them have ever heard! A family friend told me just the other day, “Every morning that you wake up in Morocco will be a bigger adventure than if you woke up in Schenectady”, and that comment made me even more eager to get started.
What I am apprehensive about as I prepare to leave home is not any aspect of day-to-day life in Morocco. It is actually the most pressing part that worries me - the travel! Yes, I have been on a plane before and yes, I have traveled internationally; a two-week tour of Italy with my college friends was the perfect way to end freshman year. However, I've never done any of this alone! To combat these anxieties, I have made myself a meticulously detailed (read: militant) itinerary including all of my travel arrangements from JFK Airport in New York all the way to Rabat. Along with my bursting-at-the-seams luggage and carry-on, I'll also be bringing all the optimism and well-wishes from everyone I've spoken to about my trip, which lately seems to be everyone I encounter!
I am so incredibly thankful for my family, friends, professors, and the extensive network of individuals who love and have supported me in getting ready for this huge endeavor, and I cannot wait to meet all my AMIDEAST friends and classmates and to start this big adventure together. Thank you for reading!