Elizabeth Dunne ’19, Jennifer “Morgan” Hekking ’19 and Caroline Kelly ’20 are pleased to be studying in Morocco this spring. “I couldn’t be more grateful; this program is ideal for my academic and professional interests,” says Dunne.
The three William Smith students are studying in Rabat, under the auspices of the School for International Training (SIT), a non-profit organization that provides immersive, field-based study abroad programs for undergraduates.
Dunne is participating in SIT’s program in migration and transnational identity, through which she will travel to the Netherlands to see the impact of migration on a host country. “The program I’m in has visits planned for the UNHRC [United Nations High Commission on Refugees] and Moroccan migrant communities in Amsterdam,” says Dunne, who is an individual major in refugee studies with a minor in development studies.
Hekking and Kelly are enrolled in a program on multiculturalism and human rights, and are examining the issues shaping Morocco and the Arab world following the 2011 Arab Spring, when a series of demonstrations precipitated coups and regime changes throughout the Arab world. They will visit the ancient cities of Fes and Marrakech and meet with members of Morocco’s culturally diverse population, which includes individuals of Amazigh, Jewish, Arabic and Sub-Saharan African backgrounds.
“My program has a large anthropological component. I’m interested in topics such as religion, race and sexuality in the Moroccan context. We’ve covered a variety of topics that have augmented what I’ve gleaned from my studies at HWS,” says Hekking, an international relations major and Middle East studies minor.
For Kelly, an anthropology major with a minor in Middle Eastern studies, the opportunities are invaluable. “For anthropology,” she says, “it is important to get experience in the field.”
All three scholars say that their experience of living with a host family and experiencing everyday life in the country is one of the most rewarding aspects of their overseas studies. “The most amazing part has been the awesome people I’ve met here,” says Hekking.
For Dunne, living with a host family has academic benefits, especially enhancing the work she is doing to learn the Arabic language. “I am very grateful for the language immersion,” she says. “I believe this, in conjunction with our intensive Arabic language program, will yield significant results.”