Finding out Overseas Throughout COVID-19: An Unanticipated Early Departure

I’ve been advised numerous occasions that finding out overseas was a as soon as in a lifetime expertise and I ought to reap the benefits of it whereas I used to be in faculty. I used to be lucky sufficient to have the ability to research overseas twice, as soon as in faculty and as soon as in highschool. 

Finding out overseas in Berlin was my first time dwelling exterior of america and among the best choices my 16-year-old self made. The expertise taught me lots about myself and even helped me resolve that I wished to go to school and research worldwide relations. 

After I received to school, I already knew I’d research overseas once more. This time, I wished to go someplace totally different, not like something the US or Germany needed to provide. 

I rapidly grew to become excited about Morocco after having a dialog with a good friend who was going. I knew I didn’t wish to go someplace the place many college students steadily went to, reminiscent of a rustic in Europe. As an alternative, I wished to check the Center East and immerse myself within the tradition. 

After doing extra analysis, I knew I wished to check overseas in Morocco. The images on the web and the data periods I attended previous to arriving within the North African nation didn’t absolutely embody its magnificence. 

A good friend and I went to the marina in Rabat, we have been captivated by its beautiful magnificence. We stayed for hours to admire the view. Photograph: Mursal Habibzai/Morocco World Information

Learn additionally: A Movie Noir: One Expat’s Expertise in Morocco Throughout COVID-19 Disaster

Experiencing Rabat

I counted the times main as much as once I would lastly be in Morocco, trying ahead to once I received there in the beginning of the semester. I didn’t anticipate the journey I’d have whereas I used to be there. 

I rapidly made mates from this system and fell right into a routine I loved. I lived with a bunch household in Agdal consisting of two pleasant dad and mom and two daughters, each in faculty, one visited house steadily whereas the opposite studied in France. 

Whereas staying with them, I fashioned an in depth relationship with my host household and I appeared ahead to coming again house every day to inform them about my day and follow my Arabic with them. It was particularly tough to say goodbye to them as they contributed a lot to my wonderful expertise. 

Whereas in Morocco, I, together with the chums I made on this system, would attend lessons in Agdal to study extra concerning the Center East and go on excursions round Rabat. 

Learn additionally: Musings from Marrakech within the COVID-19 Lockdown

A typical day for us was to attend lessons then go on excursions reminiscent of watching an exhilarating soccer match between Rabat and Casablanca groups. I by no means noticed a crowd so invested into the sport that it received us within the spirit as nicely. Even through the finish of it we have been all within the spirit and screaming like the remainder of the group. 

We additionally traveled to the astonishing Fez medina (outdated metropolis) and explored Rabat’s magnificence by occurring quite a few excursions. 

I used to be additionally privileged sufficient to journey to totally different cities in Morocco. My mates and I went to Chefchouen, Merzouga, Casablanca, and Fez.

Throughout the journeys, we realized lots concerning the totally different components of Morocco and met sort Moroccan folks alongside the best way. I used to be very blissful to have the ability to immerse myself in Morocco and its tradition; the experiences I had, I’ll cherish. 

Most of all, I’ll cherish the sights I used to be in a position to see with the chums I made. From mountain climbing up a mountain and seeing all the metropolis of Chefchaouen to using camels and dust bikes within the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert on my 21st birthday, these are reminiscences I’ll hold without end. 

Studying Abroad During COVID-19: An Unanticipated Early DepartureMy mates and I went to a soccer match on certainly one of our excursions. After the house crew scored, the group lit up in celebration. Photograph: Mursal Habibzai/Morocco World Information

COVID-19: The start of the top

After I had first heard of COVID-19, I had simply began to get into the routine of my new life in Morocco. The considered a brand new sickness breaking out was terrifying however I used to be assured that it wouldn’t come to Morocco as a result of, at that time, the virus was decreased to being simply “just like the flu,” one thing that may blow over rapidly. 

Regardless of the variety of circumstances slowly rising, I saved repeating that the novel virus was simply “the flu” and to not be involved and go on with my overseas expertise with out fear. Little did I do know that the coronavirus wasn’t “similar to the flu,” it was a pandemic that may put the world on pause. 

I didn’t notice the severity of the sickness till February once I flew again to Rabat from Rome. My good friend and I took a weekend trip and whereas boarding our flight again we noticed quite a few folks sporting gloves and face masks. 

Italy quickly entered lockdown in late February and have become the epicenter of the virus in March. Pals from my college finding out in Rome have been despatched again to the United State and needed to self-quarantine for 2 weeks. Issues started to really feel increasingly more extreme and fewer just like the flu. 

Learn additionally: What Occurred After I Found I Was ‘Caught’ in Morocco Throughout the COVID-19 Disaster

It didn’t take lengthy for issues to turn out to be severe, for the World Well being Group to declare the sickness a pandemic. Earlier than we knew it, our research overseas program was canceled and we have been advised to depart Morocco instantly. 

After my quite a few airplane tickets house all received canceled, my college discovered a flight for me from Casablanca to Paris, then arriving in Los Angeles. Being on the airport was nerve-wracking. Everybody was on excessive alert, most of them sporting gloves and masks. A lot of them seemed to be vacationers caught in Morocco. My arms have been cracked and dry from the quantity of hand sanitizer I had used. 

After I received to Los Angeles I felt a mixture of feelings. I felt reduction that I used to be lastly house, however that reduction was clouded with unhappiness and frustration due to what introduced me house. I additionally couldn’t assist however really feel frightened of how COVID-19 would have an effect on the US and the way I might need been higher off staying in Morocco. I couldn’t even hug my mom once I noticed her as a result of I didn’t wish to get her sick if I had something or vice versa. 

Studying Abroad During COVID-19: An Unanticipated Early DepartureOn my walks again to my homestay, the sunsets all the time appeared wonderful as did the numerous tall palm timber that graced Morocco. Photograph: Mursal Habibzai/Morocco World Information

Reminiscing on my time

This COVID-19 pandemic has been painful for a lot of and has brought on immense hardship. 

I felt as if I used to be robbed of my full research overseas expertise and I’ll all the time do not forget that my time in Morocco was reduce quick due to COVID-19. It was very tough to depart, and I didn’t get to say a correct goodbye to the nation and my mates and host household. I resorted to fast hugs and goodbyes to the few I used to be in a position to see earlier than I needed to depart for the airport. 

Being in quarantine for 2 weeks once I received again to California gave me a variety of time to suppose and mirror on the time I used to be in a position to have in Morocco. 

I could not have been in a position to full my research overseas expertise, however from my experiences I’ve had thus far, I’ve fallen in love with Morocco. I used to be unhappy to depart as a result of I loved being there a lot with the chums I grew shut with. 

Regardless of my program being reduce quick and never having the blissful ending I had hoped for, as I had in Germany, I do know that I’ll come again to Morocco quickly.

Learn additionally: A Cathartic Homecoming: Leaving Morocco Amid Coronavirus Disaster
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