As a third-year student of International Studies, and being multicultural myself, I am highly interested in learning and studying different cultures and languages.
My desire of going abroad for a semester was there from the very first day I started my bachelor’s degree in International Studies. In my studies, choosing an area of specialisation is a requirement. I narrowed down my choices to three areas which caught my interest the most: Latin America, Middle East and North America. One may ask why these areas in specific as they are somehow different in terms of culture, politics and economics. My options were based on my interests in the languages offered for each area as well as the urge to deepen my knowledge on the regional culture.
After attending an area fair, discussing with fellow students, and a long time of reflection, I decided to go with the latter option: North America. Why so? At the time, one of my set goals was to learn Spanish and this automatically eliminated Middle East as my area of choice. In addition to the language, I am deeply interested in minorities in the United States – this includes African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Arabs. Accordingly, my choice was made.
However, something was missing for me as I frankly wanted to know more about both Latin America because of its rich and diverse culture, and the Middle East and North Africa as my roots stem from there. Therefore, I decided to dedicate my discretionary space to one of these areas.
I am Dutch Egyptian by papers and was French schooled. Growing up, speaking several languages a day was part of my daily life and thus code-switching – also known as multilingual discourse or, in simple words, using several languages in a single sentence or conversation – became an important part of my life, with French and Arabic being my first and most spoken languages.
I finally feel comfortable code-switching without having anyone raise an eyebrow.
Throughout my life, I have been to Egypt once a year on average. However, I have never been to any other Middle Eastern or North African country in my life. Considering the languages I speak and my lack of knowledge and travel, I made the decision to move to Rabat and experience the Moroccan life, learn a different variety of Arabic other than my regular Masri Arabic, finally feel comfortable code-switching without having anyone raise an eyebrow when I do so, and enjoy the beautiful beach that Rabat has to offer.Thus, studying at NIMAR for a semester is a good choice for me considering my background, interests and goals.