I finished my study abroad program in Meknes, Morocco on July 27th. I ended the ten week program with dozens of new friends, four “A” grades, a working knowledge of French and Arabic (إن شاء الله) and a new perspective on life.

On July 28th, my brother met me in Casablanca at the airport for a trip around Europe and Morocco, a trip I was able to afford because of the University of Alabama’s generous scholarships (roll tide). We flew immediately to Rome, then went to Florence, then Milan, then Paris, then Madrid, then back to Morocco-Tangier, Asilah and Casablanca.

Europe was interesting. There was beautiful art, new people, ancient societies, sophisticated fashion, quality pork (something I hadn’t had in months because Morocco is a Muslim country), good metro systems, beautiful nature (especially the alps, which we saw on our train ride from Milan to Paris), all the things that people go to Europe to see. But I still felt unsettled while I was there. Even though the culture is more similar to US culture than Morocco, I felt less at home. I could not wait to get back to Morocco.

Finally, when we got to Tangier, it was like I was home. Everything was familiar, I knew the language, I knew how to interact socially, the people were nicer (Moroccans are extremely nice people), everything was cheaper, the hostels were better, everything was all-around more comfortable. It was this trip that made me realize that Morocco, a country I barely knew about in April, had truly become my second home.