How difficult is it really to engage in intercultural and inter-religious communication? What is Islam? What are the secrets of peace and understanding across strong lines of difference? AUCP-Marseille students are living the answer to these questions and more during their semester-long program that bridges the Mediterranean, responding to the most pertinent issues of our time. Guided by synergistic courses and open and curious hearts, students have now found their place within a French host family and this past week, repeated the experience with a Moroccan family in Fez – getting a real feel for daily life in two worlds so diverse yet so intimately linked.
AUCP Marseille students have just returned from their week-long study tour in Fez, Morocco, an integral part of their curriculum.
Students benefitted from a Moroccan homestay in the home of a carefully selected Moroccan student correspondent, attended conferences by local experts on women’s evolving rights and the economic prospects of Fez and Morocco, and explored the labyrinth of the old Medina of Fez to encounter local artisans. Students quickly discover that just as they are the co-creators of their experience abroad, peace and understanding begins on the level of the individual, with each person’s willingness to learn without judging.
Once in Fez, students were immersed in traditional Moroccan life with their language correspondents and their host families, giving them an opportunity to question their own personal conception of what is culturally acceptable within a Moroccan context, and learn about themselves and their responses to cultural difference. The week of intensive immersion ended with an excursion to the Erfoud area of the Sahara Desert in the company of nomads. Complete with a camel trek, a traditional meal and a night spent in the desert with the nomad tribe, Marseille students experienced the splendor of the desert and Moroccan culture, tout en français (et arabe) !
Our Resident Director in Marseille, Sylvie Requemora, who accompanied the students on their trip, shares:
Our group headed to Morocco with the thirst for an intercultural challenge and a fear of the unknown. But the desire to expand their minds and discover the Moroccan culture in all of its authenticity was strong, and the Moroccan host families and faculty welcomed our students with smiles and generosity. Our students were equally giving, opening their minds to learn more about their host culture, and consequently (and perhaps unexpectedly) learned more about themselves. I’m truly so proud of the students who rose to the intercultural challenge by observing, imitating and adapting themselves. They carry back with them the future of our relationship with the Arab world.
Click on the photos to enlarge, and see some photos from our students’ week in Morocco!
To learn more about the AUCP program in Marseille and its focus on International Relations, Islam culture and Arabic, visit our website.