Throughout my life, I have found myself being infatuated with traveling, learning different languages, and experiencing other cultures. This was almost certainly sparked by my atypical background – my mother is a true Minnesota gal who loves all things American, while my father hails from Morocco and holds tight to the customs and traditions found within its borders.
My diverse upbringing has led to my passionate curiosity about the greater world. I grew up speaking English, learning Moroccan (a dialect of Arabic), and using American Sign Language to communicate with my deaf brother. In high school, I decided to study French for three years and in college, elected to learn formal Arabic. My wanderlust is continuously fueled by my numerous summers spent in Morocco and various trips to countries across Europe. While these journeys have allowed me to explore the many different religions, languages, and cultures found throughout the world, I know there so much more to unearth.
I have recently been blessed with the opportunity to enrich my studies through another incredible journey that begins in just a few days. I will be studying abroad in Amman, Jordan, a place that is rich with both ancient wonders and an emerging modern culture.
I could have sworn that it was just yesterday when I brought up the idea of studying abroad to my parents. My mother listened eagerly, thinking that it would be a wonderful opportunity while my father sat off to the side, rolling his eyes at this absurd mention. Fast forward to a year later and my mother is struggling to mask her concern about me going to a relatively unstable region of the world, while my father continues to sit off to the side in denial that his only daughter will be absent from home for quite some time.
After months of shopping and gathering my belongings, I believe that I finally have everything I need to sustain me for these next six months. The other night I narrowed down the towering pile of clothes I planned to take along with me into the bare necessities. Although, what I consider to be my essential items may appear to some as a bit ridiculous.
I realize that it is truly a science when it comes packing six months’ worth of items into one suitcase.
With my official countdown narrowing to four days now, I find myself extremely eager for this experience to begin. I am anxious to discover more about myself as well as to challenge myself in all facets –mentally, physically, and emotionally. I hope to gain a better understanding of this particular region of the world, to make lifelong connections with others, and to allow my mind to grow to limitless altitudes.
Nevertheless, I am still aware of the challenges that are bound to arise simply from being a young, American woman in a foreign country. Friends and family members lovingly remind me about not going anywhere alone, remaining aware of my surroundings, and trusting my gut.
So, over these next couple of days I will smother my cats with kisses, say my final ‘see you laters’ to those closest to me, and relish in the spectacular Colorado scenery that I will surely miss. I look forward to sharing my experiences with the world while I uncover what my future has to hold.
From Denver (en route to Jordan), with love