Becoming a Better Global Citizen
By Loki Chairez
If last year I was told that I’d be taking a trip to Morocco, over 5,000 miles away, I never would have believed it. However, that is exactly what happened the summer of my junior year. After having taken Arabic for three years, my teacher approached me with the opportunity to go on a foreign language trip where I would be able to put my three years of knowledge to the test. Knowing I could not let this experience pass me by, I accepted the offer in a heartbeat. July could not have come sooner!
I still vividly remember walking through the souks (marketplace). It was the most lively experience to say the least. We were enveloped by traditional Moroccan wares and treats. Our language skills were put to the test when we were challenged to learn and keep up with the bartering etiquette. Although it was intimidating, especially to someone who was unaccustomed to such practices, it was the most natural form of assimilation. Soon enough if would become second nature to seamlessly navigate through large crowds and to successfully leave with a new purchase. To this day, my classmates and I reminisce in the memories of the nights we spent in Morocco and recall the moments in which we were able to carry out a conversation with the locals.
Before the trip, I felt reluctant to leave my comfort zone, yet now I view every opportunity as one that would catalyze growth. Knowledge is the only way to bring about change. As I was preparing for my trip, those around me knew very little about Morocco. The only thing they knew was Casablanca or whatever they saw in the media. I realize now the importance of correcting fallacies and broadening people’s perspectives, rather than allowing for stereotypes to be perpetuated. I can hardly sit still when an opportunity to enhance my knowledge of cultures is brought up. It is better to be an active participant, a catalyst for change, rather than an observer.
This trip encouraged me to educate myself more on the world we live in and progress my level of Arabic. It is as if I never left, for I carry with me the experience at all times. It was an experience that I will likely never forget, and I am grateful to ImprintEd Abroad for facilitating the trip.