Brian studies on the IES: Rabat, Francophone Studies & Arabic Language (Summer) Program in Summer 2015.
If you could go abroad again, what would you do differently?
I would try to study abroad during the Fall or Spring semester because the summer felt so short.
What specific factors influenced your decision to go abroad?
I wanted to improve my French language skills but didn’t want to study in France. Morocco was the perfect pick because the program also offered Arabic in addition to French, allowing me to practice both.
What experiences did you have while studying abroad that you feel you could not have had if you had stayed at Penn State?
There are far too many for me to mention! Among many of my experiences I was able to explore the cafes in Rabat, walk through a cathedral in Seville, and spend a night in the Sahara desert. I wouldn’t have been able to do these things if I had stayed at Penn State over the summer.
What advice would you give to outbound study abroad students to help them make the most out of their study abroad experiences?
Don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone. Keep an open mind and broaden your horizons to extents you never thought you could!
Share an experience where you interacted with someone in your host culture in a way that taught you something.
Coming back to the United States I truly miss the cafe culture. My first night in Morocco with my host family, my host brother took me out to one of his favorite cafes. I was amazed at how much better the coffee was than what I was used to. He told me that most Moroccans at night go out to cafes to drink coffee/tea and basically hangout for a couple hours. Shoe shiners, and other tradesmen would walk around the the cafes and provide their services. Going to cafes at night quickly became my favorite thing to do with my host brother and gave me some insight into the Moroccan culture.