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Laura Perez in Morocco

Laura in Chefchaouen, Morocco.

Laura in Chefchaouen, Morocco.

 

I studied abroad this fall, the first quarter of my senior year. I participated in a program, headquartered in Rabat, the capital, that was centered on the relationship between multiculturalism and human rights in the context of the Moroccan Arab Spring. Classes delved into Morocco’s colonial history and its post-colonial inheritance covering topics such as women’s rights, religion, linguistics, and art. Formal lectures were supplemented with field research conducted during the semester and culminating in an individual research project. I conducted research on the effects of the ongoing drought on argan farmers and their strategies for survival. During this time, I traveled through the Souss and Haha regions of southwestern Morocco, interviewing the members of women’s argan cooperatives. Here I learned about local efforts to face the ongoing challenges of climate change.

 

Laura and a friend in the Sahara desert

Laura and a friend in the Sahara desert

In addition to my classes, I experienced north African culture for the first time. Many of my most memorable experiences involved meals with my host family. From sacrificing a goat during the Eid celebration at the end of the month of Ramadan to weekly couscous feasts, I loved getting to know a new culture and exploring Rabat with my host siblings. This experience has whetted my desire to continue traveling and learning about other cultures.