My name is Hanan Aslam and I am from New York City. I am currently in my last week of the Rabat Language and Culture program. I am sad for my time here in Morocco to end but I am grateful for my experiences.
It only took me one step in the Old Medina in Morocco to realize that I would love it here. We entered the old medina at rush hour and everything about it reminded me of my home country, Pakistan. From the countless street shops to the crowded rural streets, I loved it all. Being in Morocco for so long has really made me appreciate what we have in America, but it also made me realize what I’m missing out on. To start off, food in Morocco is way more important that food in America. A Moroccans food is their sign of love and hospitality for a person. On Fridays, Moroccans also make a meal called couscous which is delicious and most people go to the mosque to pray. Bread or khboz is essential in every Moroccan meal. They serve four meals in Morocco, breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner.
One thing they have in Morocco that New York City is definitely lacking is a community. In Morocco I hardly even know the language but I’ve managed to make so many friends in the street shops here by just walking around and talking to people. One time in Agdal I talked to a security guard for like 5 minutes only, but now every time he sees me he always calls me over and asks how I’m doing. Meanwhile in New York even if you speak fluent English plus slang, if you walk into a store and just start talking to the owner its not likely things will turn out well. It's a huge cultural difference but I definitely love the Moroccan community more, mostly because the more friends you have the more discounts you get.
As much as I love Morocco and I love my host family I definitely am looking forward to returning to America. While at Morocco I’ve suffered from homsickness and missing my parents. Being without them for so long has really made me appreciate them a lot more and make me realize that my parents do all they can for me and I don’t treat them with as much love as they deserve. Another part of Morocco that has really amazed me and blown my mind is the Muslim community here. There are masjids everywhere in the Old Medina where I live. It's lovely to see a strong Muslim community with masjids or mosques that are nearly always full. I love being able to hear the adhan or call to prayer for every prayer here.
We are leaving this Saturday back to the states but I will leave with a lot of memories and lasting connections!