As part of the School’s global education program, seven senior Collegiate French students and their trip leaders visited Morocco from Jan. 8-15 for a weeklong language and cultural immersion experience. While in Morocco, students visited the cities of Casablanca and El Jadida, and spent time at Collegiate’s partner school, George Washington Academy, where they engaged with the students.
“It's important for students to travel abroad to countries like Morocco in order to have a truly immersive experience,” said Collegiate senior Sonja Kapadia. “The deeper learning happens when a student is placed in a new situation and experiences everything first hand. I learned so much on the trip and hope that future students will have the same opportunity.
"My host parent, Madame Essaoudi, beautifully articulated the reasons behind her decision to begin wearing a hijab only thirteen years ago, four years after her daughter Meryem was born. Madame Essaoudi explained the importance of wearing a hijab as a personal decision, one that she would never impose on any of her three daughters. Instead, she would teach them values in order for them to grow up as strong, intelligent, and kind members of society. Each of the girls will decide whether or not they want to cover themselves completely on their own. This unforgettable conversation lasted maybe 20 minutes and I remember stepping out of the car when we arrived and thinking, 'Wow. That just changed my life.'”
Collegiate students Excellence Perry and Parker Conquest spent hours with their host family student peers talking about our lives and sharing our beliefs with one another. Politics, race, religion, current events and education.
"I found it easy to open myself up to my Morocccan peers whom I had only known for days," Excellence said. "After our conversation, I left that night, feeling changed and as if something was missing. Our conversation had revealed to me just how much I did not know about the larger world around me and imbued in me a drive to learn more about topics and events that are not always addressed at school. I learned more about a different culture, people and myself in those two hours than I ever could have in a classroom. While we did visit many historically important as well as beautiful Moroccan landmarks and sites, I believe that the most valuable parts of the trip were the connections that we made with those from a different culture."