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Amber Robins: Diary of a Med Student

July 3, 2011: Morocco

Author: Amber Robins

Dear Journal,
I have to tell you that I have just been on the trip of a lifetime! Right now I’m flying  from Morocco back to the United States. Now I know that when some people hear the word Morocco it may not instantly equate to a country in Africa. Yes, it is indeed in Africa. I also know that when one speaks of Africa they think of an uncivilized place with animals everywhere and people with very little clothing. Please let me clear this misconception. Much of Africa is similar to that of the United States.
Although my trip to Africa was very relaxing, it was not simply for leisure. Over the past week my sister and I volunteered in Rabat, Morocco, at a women’s center. We taught English to Arabic and French speaking Moroccan citizens with an emphasis on women’s empowerment. It was an awesome experience! Our students were so great! We taught them phrases used in everyday conversations such as simple introductions of oneself, names for various parts of the body, and assisted with English grammar. I am still amazed at how much our students actually learned in a week. It was my privilege to be their teacher because I learned tremendously from them.
I found that learning has no barriers. Even though my sister and I knew very little Arabic or French, we were still able to effectively teach our students English. I now understand that the only barrier to learning is the one that we set for ourselves. If you can free your mind to be open and continuously inspire yourself to learn new concepts, then it will surely happen. No thing or no one can hold you back from learning except you. Many of our students had only begun learning English within the past 2-3 weeks and were able to understand my sister and I as we spoke English.
I also learned how similar the Moroccan culture is to that of the United States. We all seem to have the same goal in life. The goal to simply work hard and enjoy life is very evident within both cultures. Nothing is ever given to you. One must put forth a positive effort to better him or herself. Although at times it may seem very difficult to succeed, one’s positive efforts are rewarded in some capacity.
Having such an experience, even for only one week, has been life changing. I highly suggest that if given the chance, everyone should have this experience. Morocco is a great place to volunteer and visit. As an African-American, I saw much of myself in many of the people I met in Morocco. I am sure that even if you’re not of African descent, everyone will have a similar experience. After all, we all are human beings. We just may have different shades or tints of skin that differ. People are just people. If everyone would just open their hearts, look deeper than the meaning that man has placed on skin color, and appreciate different views, the world would a much better place.
Amber Robins, MS2

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