Classified: Mission Moroccan Summer

AGENT’S CODE NAME: بريجيد (Brigid)

Mission Status: Successfully Complete 

Background: Over the span of six weeks beginning on June 2, the agent will travel to Meknes, Morocco, and complete an intensive Arabic language program at the Arab American Language Institute in Morocco. 

Objective: It is imperative that the agent seek to possess a greater understanding of the Moroccan language: grammar, vocabulary, (much improved) conversational skills, and syntax. Moreover, the agent must learn to cope with and immerse herself in Morocco through the exploration of family life, religion, gender roles, food, and history. 

Post-Mission Agent Log:

After being back in the States for the past week, I have been able to catch up not only on sleep but also on the weight of my time abroad. Over the span of six weeks, I spent a total of 138 hours in a classroom learning Arabic (which equates to roughly an entire year’s worth of time). Beyond that, I spent almost every moment outside of the classroom learning both Arabic and about Moroccan culture. 

In this short amount of time, my conversational skills have improved beyond what I had hoped to accomplish. I not only feel comfortable speaking in a classroom setting in Arabic but also in daily conversations, such as with my host family or at the سوق (marketplace). Moreover, I was astounded by my ability to have difficult and abstract conversations and discussions on pertinent issues such as the war in Ukraine and abortion rights. Along with my improvements with speaking, I finally mastered or have begun to master the correct preposition usage within complex sentences. Finally, I learned new vocabulary outside of the classroom in order to navigate daily life. These new words include parts of the body, colors, basic animals, and other important keywords and phrases in order to ride in a taxi, order at a restaurant and communicate with my host family. Being in Morocco made learning these words that much more important and provided me with the initiative to expand my learning beyond that found in a book. 

Moreover, I learned so much about the culture, people, and life that is in Morocco, but I never imagined how hard it is to return home and describe my experience. One of the hardest parts to grasp is that no one could ever really understand the true depth that this experience has had upon me, but that’s okay. I just hope that I am able to express even the tiniest bit of the awe and wonder that I witnessed during my short time in Morocco. 

I want people to know about the joy felt when my teacher would say براڤو عليك بريجيد (bravo Brigid) or when my host sister made tea which we shared. I want people to feel the excitement of walking through the streets of the مدينة قديمة (Old Medina), knowing that you are surrounded by the oldest architecture in the entire city. I wish people could experience the beauty of seeing the stars in the Sahara, the vastness of the Atlas Mountains, or the beautiful coasts along the Mediterranean and Atlantic. These are only a few experiences that I wish I could communicate in their entirety along with so many more; I only hope my words and pictures can capture a glimpse of that for you. 

With that being said, I want to sign off with an enormous thank you. Foremost, I want to thank the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures for providing me with this opportunity. Thank you to everyone at AALIM who provided constant support and assistance throughout the whole process, my professors both from Notre Dame and AALIM for all of their encouragement and support, my host family who opened their home to me, my classmates and friends who made the six weeks in Morocco unforgettable, and finally everyone who was following along with my mission. I hope my mission reports were enlightening and as much fun to read as they were to write. 

This is Agent Brigid Dunn signing off.

!مع السلامة! شكرا