The GoGlobal Blog

Taking on the World, one continent at a time.

Taking on the World, one continent at a time.

Well, it’s been about three weeks since my last blog, a good indicator that I am pretty busy traveling and enjoying my time here in Spain! After the Granada trip at the end of February, I have spent the last two weeks doing a lot of homework and studying (we just had our midterms) and planning for my Spring Break. I will be traveling for 18 solid days in April, hitting up four different countries- SO EXCITED!!! Flights and hostels were all pretty cheap, and I am excited to be crashing on some couches at the apartments of other friends who are studying abroad hahaha. I sense a long blog post after that chunk of traveling!

But any who, I have also been continuing my internship at the M.A.R.Q. museum, which has been really fun and interesting. I’m still learning a lot about the museum and possible career choices for someone like me with my majors and ambitions. I also picked up a second internship, where I am an English teacher’s assistant at a small school in Alicante. Every Friday, Luis (the director of the USAC Program) drives me to Aire Libre, the school I teach at, and I spend about 6 hours there assisting Maria, the English teacher, with teaching 3 classes of twenty kids English. It’s actually a lot of fun, and pretty hysterical too. I’m impressed at how good their English is for being only 10-13 years old. A lot of the boys ask me if I have a boyfriend and flirt with me (they are romantics even from a young age), and the girls are interested in knowing if I have horses and what America is like. They are all very smart and goofy, and I have never had more fun playing Simon Says with English commands than I have with them. I am usually not a big kid fan, but I really enjoy going to the school and working with them. It’s even starting to make me think if teaching Spanish in the states could be a possible career choice for me in the future….

Now as for my title, last weekend I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to… AFRICA. A bunch of USAC students and I got together at the beginning of the semester and we planned a trip to Morocco, Africa, through this travel agency that provides safe tours to students in Africa. We planned it all a while ago, and now finally it was here! I had always wanted to go to Africa, and now that dreams was actually going to be realized. We left at 3 am on Friday morning (pretty miserable, but it was the only time that there would be a bus going from Alicante to Malaga, the port city). We arrived around noon that day, met with our group organizer, and headed for the port. We had to take a ferry to Africa, which surprisingly only took about an hour. There were 16 of us USAC students total going to Africa, and we were all ecstatic. We arrived around 7 pm in Ceuta, a small Spanish city in Africa, and then took a bus to our hotel in a small city near Tangier, starting our African adventure.

Morocco was beautiful, but it was not at all what I thought it would be honestly. I admit, I thought it would look like the Saharan desert, or the plains of Africa with a lot of animals and small towns- I blame Hollywood for those ideas. Instead, northern Morocco was incredibly green and mountainous, humid and wet, and appeared more like Ireland than the Africa I had envisioned.  The cities were small, and all the buildings were white or blue (blue paint keeps mosquitoes away- check the pictures!). The people spoke Arabic, obviously, but also French and a little Spanish, and they were extremely modest in the appearances, with the women wearing the head scarves and men wearing full body robes. Us Americans really stuck out, and I had never felt more out of place and different in my whole life. Now this isn’t a bad thing- I liked feeling that intense culture shock. It was the first time I had ever been somewhere that was completely different in every aspect- how the people looked, their language, their mannerisms, their food, buildings, interactions, homes, etc. It was a completely different world, and it was exhilarating to see something so different from America and even Europe. I am not going to lie, there were some challenges to this though. My snow white complexion and red/light brown hair brought a lot of attention to me, since all the Moroccans have very dark hair and complexions. The locals stared at my friends and I, especially the blonde haired, blue-eyed girls. It was definitely uncomfortable sometimes, knowing that everyone knew I was not from Morocco, and having them treat me different, but I didn’t let it bother me.

During our trip, we visited three Moroccan cities; Chefchaueoun, Tetuan, and Tangier. They were all different and unique in their own way, but all equally interesting. We did a walking tour in each city, learning a little bit more about it’s history and culture. We learned quite a bit about Morocco’s history as a country as well, but I won’t go into detail here about all that information 🙂 My friends and I did a lot of walking, shopping, eating, exploring, and learning everywhere we went. We learned that they paint the walls of the city blue to keep the bugs away, and that tapestries, rugs, Argon oil, and leather are very popular merchandise there. We learned about their religion, like how often they pray, where they do it, and their religious rituals. My friends and I learned how to bargain at the little shops and market places around the city, some of us scoring great deals on objects. I bought a beautiful blanket and some postcards, as well as a tea cup set and fridge magnet for my host family (my host mom loves collecting magnets from everywhere she goes, so I thought it was perfect…. she loved it a lot!) I took a ton of pictures, everything that was interesting and beautiful, and even learned some Arabic words and phrases along the way. I only really learned the basics, like Hello, how are you? in Arabic, but I made sure to say them as often as possible, trying to communicate with the locals.

We visited a couple cool spots during our transition from one city to the next, checking out the beach point where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet, as well as the famous cave of Africa. I think my favorite part though, however, was our camel ride. It was probably one of the funniest things I have ever done, and I loved it. The camel ride was included in our tour, and was one of the last things we did. We stopped at this one beach on our way to Tangier, and saw a bunch of camels and people riding them. Everyone was super giddy about it, and we were pushing each other around trying to get to the camels first. The ride itself was not long, maybe only ten minutes, but it was awesome. At first it was terrifying getting on the camel and having it stand up, and boy those things are a lot taller when standing, but it was really scary when we started to move and the camel trainers made the camels run. My friends and I were laughing our butts off because it was just so fun and we were all freaking out. We took tons of pictures and just had a blast. I love saying that I rode camels in Africa now- still feels unbelievable to me that we were able to do that. We left Africa Sunday night, after our visit to Tangier, exploring the city and watching a belly dance show at an incredible restaurant. It was sad leaving Africa, but I was ready to go back home to Spain.

We spent one day in Sevilla during our transition back to Alicante, and it was incredible! Sevilla is honestly what I pictured all of Spain to be like- old and majestic buildings, lots of bull fighters and flamenco dancers, and a rich historical setting. I learned a lot about Sevilla during our walking tour, such as the fact that Sevilla had the oldest tobacco factory, and that a couple of the beautiful buildings and plazas that were built for the World Fair during the 1900s were settings for certain movies, like Star Wars. It was a great time spending the day walking around and hanging out, and it was a nice close to a rather adventurous weekend. When I got back to Alicante, I spent the next couple of days resting and recuperating from that weekend, and getting all the rest of my stuff ready for Spring Break. I have also been spending a lot of time with my host family, because I missed them a lot over the weekend and I know I will miss them a ton over Spring Break. They told me how much they missed me as well, and even said they wouldn’t let me return to the states after the program because they love me too much. It was a joke of course, but it was so sweet knowing how much they like me.

Alright, I got to study for a big test tomorrow, because unfortunately school work does not stop while you’re abroad. Probably won’t be posting for a couple weeks until I am back from Spring Break, but I promise to come back with great stories and adventures!

Hasta luego,


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