Student Spotlight - Alexis Whitacre
Current Class Level: Junior
Major: International Studies
Country of Study: Morocco
What has been your most rewarding experience abroad so far?
Living with a Moroccan host family and fully immersing myself into Moroccan life and culture by interacting with my host parents and host siblings in French and Arabic.
What has been your favorite part about your host culture?
There is always food. Always. And everything comes with bread!
What has been your favorite trip you’ve taken?
So far in Morocco, I’ve visited Fes, Casablanca, and Meknes. Fes has been my favorite as it is beautiful and thought by Moroccans to be a much more spiritual and traditional city than perhaps Casablanca. But we have a lot of other trips planned!
What will you miss the most when you leave?
I will miss my host family and the many friends I have made through the program.
What has been most challenging living in your host country/culture?
The most challenging part of living in Morocco is the language barrier. Most everyone speaks French, and while I know some French, I am by no means fluent (yet!). The Moroccan dialect, Darija, is challenging as well and many Moroccans tend to switch between French and Arabic frequently during conversations, so it’s difficult to know what language they’re actually speaking.
What is your best advice for a future study abroad student?
Do as much as you can to interact with locals. It will be exhausting, especially if they don’t speak your first language, but actively seeking out people to talk with is part of the immersion process. Speaking and making mistakes (maybe even committing a cultural faux pas) is how you learn. And locals will appreciate your dedication to learning about their culture and language.
Anything else you would like to tell us?
If you have a chance to study in Morocco, do it. You will not be disappointed!