Introducing Mika Chmielewski – Fall 2015 Morocco Blog Abroad Correspondent

When I started taking Arabic fall term of my freshman year of college, I never expected it would land me here, finalizing my packing list for the semester I will spend in Rabat. And yet here I am! I am incredibly honored to be the Fall 2015 Blog Correspondent for the AMIDEAST Program in Morocco. For those of you reading, wherever you might be, I hope I will be able to provide you with some meaningful insight into the four months I am about to spend in Morocco. I will try my best to give you an accurate portrayal of my semester in Rabat, as well as my insights and discoveries along the way.

But before I can tell you about what I am going to be doing, you ought to know a little bit about me. My name is Mika, and I am a rising junior at Carleton College, a liberal arts school in the Midwest. My path to studying abroad in Morocco has been unique to say the least. For starters, I am majoring in physics and getting a certificate, similar to a minor, in Arabic. In addition to studying science and languages, I also love dancing, rock climbing, and astronomy.

My Arabic class celebrated our last day of two years of classes together with some great Arabic music and this photo.

My Arabic class celebrated our last day of two years of classes together with some great Arabic music and this photo.

I believe in the importance of being a global citizen, and of learning how to connect with a broad range of people. I also believe that the only way to truly be successful in studying a language is to immerse yourself in the language in a place where it is spoken in daily life. I made the decision to spend my next semester in Rabat for a variety of reasons, but immersion in language was the main one. Having studied French as well as Arabic, I am eager to be in a place where I can speak and practice both languages. I am excited to devote myself to soaking up as much language as I can for the next four months and to finally have the chance to be surrounded by spoken Arabic every day. Though I know my brain is going to be extremely confused for a while!

Besides being in a new country, Rabat will be a new environment for me in another way as well; I have never before lived in a city. I am looking forward to navigating all the different challenges of the city, though I know it will at times be at least as challenging as navigating the challenges of a new country. By the end of the program, I hope to be whizzing around in petit taxis like a pro. As a college student, I have gotten used to traveling around and not having one permanent living place for an extended period of time, though I have never traveled anywhere as distant as this before. Throughout my time in college I have been interested in the idea of “home” and of how our identities are shaped by the places we visit and live. I still feel deeply connected to the small town I am from, but I am also eager to explore and discover other places and environments. I know that these experiences will change some of who I am and how I perceive the world. As such, I am interested in pursuing ideas of identity and shifting culture in Morocco. I hope to share many of my musings and discoveries in this subject with you all as well.

My cousins and brother and me during winter break last year

My cousins and brother and me during winter break last year

Now, I am off to finish printing the last few documents I need, before I begin this exciting new chapter in my life. I will be back in just a few weeks to let you know how I am, and the other AMIDEAST students are, settling in to the beginning of our term in Morocco.

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1 Comment

Filed under Area & Arabic Language Studies, Mika Chmielewski, Morocco, Rabat

One response to “Introducing Mika Chmielewski – Fall 2015 Morocco Blog Abroad Correspondent

  1. Ginny

    What a great adventure! And looking forward to your future posts.

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