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Kristen Dufty ('12)
As I was searching out a place to fulfill my study abroad requirement I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had been taking French for only 2 semesters in College and my heart, pas- sion, and focus were on the Arabic population. What seemed like a mess of unorganized passions and random classes that I had taken throughout my life actually turned into a dream come true. I studied abroad in Morocco with the program SIT. I lived with a host family in the old walled city of Rabat and took 3 hours of inten- sive Arabic a day, along with around 3 hours of cultural and human rights studies. I had no prior experience in Arabic, but out of necessity, needless to say, I learned the language quite rapidly. However, I spoke French with my family and shopkeepers along with other tourists whenever miscommunication arose, or if I simply could not remember the Arabic words for something. I began speaking in what I would like to call 'Frarabic', a combination of Arabic and French, which is quite normal for a former colonial country.
Arabic countries once colonized by the French still have most of their education, medical, and government systems inspired by the French, while the people of the country speak a dialect of Arabic. My future career plan is to live in an Arabic community and provide health care and education. I will continue with both Arabic and French this coming school year and then go on to Graduate school for a health degree.
While I was in Morocco I was given the opportunity to experience things to which some will never be exposed. One of my favorite memories Graduates 1991-2011 Continued from page 1 is going into the Sahara Desert. We dropped our stuff off at an Auberge, a small hotel, and slipped onto not-so-happy camels and began to ride up huge sand dunes. We made it to a rather gigantic peak to watch the sunset over hundreds of miles of orange sand. That same night, late into the night, with more stars in the sky than I had ever seen, my best friend and I were given the opportunity to ride four-wheelers into the desert, up and down the dunes. Well, until the four-wheeler broke down and we had to walk 2 miles or so in the Sahara desert sand back to our hotel, an experience I will never forget.
My other favorite memory is going into a small village town called Boujaad. We were all placed into families and then would be picked up in a week. With little knowledge of the Moroccan dialect of Arabic, I communicated with my host mother and brother in broken Arabic and drew pictures that we would giggle at. It was amazing how much we could communicate without knowing each other's language. And yet they cared for me so much and made sure that I was safe and comfortable. I have never experienced such amazing hospitality.
I will never forget this experience for it truly changed my life. I simply love the Arabic culture and people. Choosing to go to Morocco gave me confidence in the degree I am seeking and in my future career goals.