University of Pittsburgh | BradfordHeinz Programming Area:
Jayda was fortunate enough to receive the Vira Heinz Scholarship and participate in the 2018 Cohort. With the scholarship she was able to study abroad in the capital of Morocco, Rabat. The program duration was seven weeks long; during that time period Jayda lived with a host family, attended classes studying Fus’ha (classical Arabic), Darija (the Moroccan dialect of Arabic), culture and history in Morocco, as well as volunteering, where she partook in a community service project and preparing for a paper to be written in Arabic at the end of the term. While Abroad Jayda traveled to many cities in central and northern Morocco including, Meknes, Fes, Chefchaouen, Volubilis, Marrakech, Tangier, Casablanca, and a small rural village in the Atlas mountains. It was fascinating to have witnessed the differences between cities. As one travels from one city or region to the next it is apparent as there are dialect changes and various cultural differences. For example, in central and southern Morocco, weddings will begin in the evening and then last until morning (seven a.m) followed by a ‘weekend’ (a couple of days) of celebration. In Northern Morocco, weddings can last upwards of seven days, and couples will often wait, electing to all get married simultaneously. Jayda’s host family consisted of a mother, father, brother, and sister; much of her time was spent with her host siblings and host cousins at the beach, walking throughout the city, and attending various festivals and cultural events. On the weekends, she traveled with other American students as well as Moroccan friends she made to explore Morocco. Jayda spoke Darija at home with her host family and in the streets/markets, while speaking Fus’ha in academic environments. For her community service project she worked with a local NGO where she engaged in administrative details (such as the logistics, planning, and organization of events), inventory of their growing library, as well as teaching local Moroccans conversational English. Throughout her vast experiences while abroad, Jayda was able to develop meaningful relationships throughout her program, both professional and personal. Through these relationships and experiences, Jayda had various intellectual discussion and was able to delve into Moroccan society, emerging herself and gaining intimate knowledge on the functions of Moroccan society.