In 2017 I was awarded with a travel scholarship by the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation for spending two semesters in Rabat, Morocco. At the Ecole de Gouvernance et d’Economie (EGE), I found a program that aims to combine the study of the Arabic language (mostly Modern Standard Arabic) with academic research within the field of the Social Sciences. As a student of Arabic at the University of Amsterdam, I was not a complete beginner with the language.
When standing on the escalators of Rabat’s main train station and watching the city slowly emerge in front of me, I realised that, for me as a traveller, the region of the language I have been learning was as new as it could be.
After a short taxi ride, which rounded the old medina, I arrived at my house in the Oudayas, a small, old, and blue-white painted neighbourhood next to the ocean where I spent my first semester living at. After a week of getting acquainted with the area, the program at EGE started. Every morning I walked through the then still quiet medina to take the tram that brought me to the university. After the first welcome meeting, where I met my fellow international students (about 25 people) for the first time, I made several tests in order to be placed in the class according to my level. After this introductory week, we began with the daily classes.