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- Human Development & Family Studies
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As a both a first time traveler to Morocco and first time chaperone for a Study Abroad trip, I must say the experience not only exceeded my expectations, it was AWESOME!!! The country, culture and people of Morocco are both fascinating and enchanting. What added to the total enjoyment of the trip was to experience not only my personal sense of wonderment but in sharing that with the best group of students ever! Please check out the great trip summary below authored by Sarah Reising-Rechner.
“Markets, Oranges, and Camels”
This winter break Professor Mosbah Kushad and recruiter Mrs. Wendy White took eleven students abroad to study horticulture crops and the beautiful culture of Morocco. After a nine-hour flight from O’Hare airport in Chicago we arrived to Marrakech, Morocco. The minute we stepped off the airplane it was a gasp of excitement and anticipation. The weather was perfect that day, a mere 70 degrees and a sun so warm – we were overdressed to be in this gorgeous weather! We were able to take a walk to the Marrakech market that evening and experience the hustle and bustle of a Moroccan market. When we arrived to the market we all stood in awe of the amount of people present. It was so overwhelming! The amount of people and things for sale was almost scary, but so exciting and different from the culture in America.
We traveled around almost the entire country to visit different farms, markets, and agricultural businesses. The staple crop of Morocco is wheat. Wheat was just beginning to grow when we arrived so we looked at a few other crops that Morocco has to offer. We visited an orange farm where there were miles of orange trees with beautiful bright orange coloring on them. As we walked through the farm Professor Kushad translated with the farmer about his crops and how he grows his oranges. The orange farmer was very insistent that we eat as many oranges as we wanted to. This was a both blessing and a curse because many of the students ate multiple pounds of oranges that day. We also visited olive plantations, a vineyard, apple orchard, sugar beet and carrot field, and much more!
While we were studying abroad we noticed a lot of differences in not only the way they farm in Morocco, but the culture as well! We till, plant, and harvest a field with tractors in America. But in Morocco they use horses, mules, and donkeys to till and harvest their fields. Most of the farmers then hand plant their crops. The farms are much smaller in Morocco and this is due to the lack of tractors, and people simply do not own more than on hundred acres or so. The people of Morocco were so genuine, nice, and welcoming to not only their country but their farms. They saw how interested we were in their crops that they wanted to give us all the information they could about their farms.
Overall, this study abroad tour was not only a great learning experience, but also an eye-opening experience. We learned about so many different crops and how to grow, harvest, and store them that we could have never learned in a classroom. The time we spent in Morocco showed us just how people live and survive in different countries. Also, what other time would we have been able to ride camels in the Sahara desert?