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New Beginnings

So... I'm in Morocco!

Actually, I've been here since September 6th, 2010, but my best-laid plans to blog during my fall semester went astray as I was overcome by the distractions of life in a completely new culture. Fortunately, I'm staying here through the spring, so I still have time to recount my best stories from last semester as well as post about current goings-on in my adopted country.

A bit about me: My name is Sarah Ranney, and I'm a native of Groton, Massachusetts, a junior at Morris, and currently a student at the École Superieure de Direction et de Gestion in Rabat, Morocco, studying on CIEE's Language and Culture program. A French major and Anthropology minor, I decided to study abroad in a Francophone (French-speaking) country rather than in France, due to my long-standing interest in Arab language and culture. The advantages and disadvantages of this choice have become apparent over the last few months, but overall I've been satisfied with the outcome. I'm not a big fan of trying to sum up complicated experiences in one pithy phrase, so for now I'll just say that I've had an amazing time here so far and am overjoyed to be lingering a few more months. Besides, I expect to be blitzing the ACE blog with posts in the next couple of weeks to make up for my past failure, which should give a decent idea of what my life in Morocco has been like.

Last semester, our program was quite small, with only ten students. The others were: Caítríona (Cat), who goes to Stonehill College in Boston; Rachel, Jake, and Jordan, who all go to the University of Oregon; Judith (Jet), who goes to Cornell; Meghan, who goes to Claremont McKenna College in California; Ethan, who goes to the University of New Hampshire; Courtney, who goes to Spelman College in Atlanta; and Nabila, who goes to Trinity College in Connecticut.

Cat, Nabila, Rachel, Jake, and I (aka half the program) are staying for the academic year. In late December, we said sad goodbyes to Ethan, Jordan, Courtney, Meghan, and Jet; and on January 24th, we'll meet our new friends the spring semester students. There are fifteen of them, so the program will double in size.

Another VIP is our resident director, Madiha, who matched us up with our homestay families and does her best to fulfill our every wish and need. She also happens to be the nicest person I've ever met!

I think that's enough background info for now. I'll be preparing for the start of the new semester over the next few days, but I'm sure I'll find time to post again soon. Thanks for reading!

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