This blog was written by Sule. She participated in AIESEC’s Nour project and went on exchange to Marrakech, Morocco.
When I decided to participate in the Nour project of AIESEC, I felt like I did something impulsive yet brave. I never went abroad on my own before. I always had people I could depend on like friends and family. This time I wanted to challenge myself by doing this project on my own, and I wanted to discover and embrace another culture.
Morocco was an amazing experience for me. I never imagined that five weeks could add so much to a person. For my project I was a volunteer at the High Atlas Foundation in Marrakech, an organization where people help and support others. They have projects for women empowerment, children education and planting trees. The Foundation is a place that makes you feel comfortable and allows you to become part of their community in such a short time. I grew so much on so many personal aspects which I did not even set as a goal for myself. I was able to learn so much from so many people that I met there. Not only the sweet Moroccans but also the other Exchange Participants who came there with AIESEC from different countries. I made so many friends, we shared so much with each other, we became family.
We were able to discover the Moroccan culture together, the very friendly and embracing people who are more than willing to help you out when you’re in need. First it could feel like people are very assertive, especially in Marrakech.
But the more you blend in, the more beautiful everything becomes. As long as you are welcoming their culture and trying to engage with them, they instantly welcome you and are very keen to show you their way of life.
I do not want to generalize Morocco in a few sentences because this huge country with amazing landscapes differs within herself so much. The people in Fez are different than the people in Agadir. The nomads in the Sahara are different than the people in Essaouira. They have their delicious tea and warm heart in common. Yet they differ in so many details, which is beautiful to discover. It is obviously very different than the Netherlands and that is exactly why the Nour project exists.
The whole point is accepting the differences, to be welcoming to other traditions. We have to stop forcing our own standards on others. Yes, we humans have our own ways. And yes, each individual differs from one another. But the crucial thing is that we respect each other and that we do not stereotype and distance ourselves from the traditions and manners of others. The second you allow their culture to become part of you is where you are able to discover another magical world.
All I can say is that AIESEC gave me an opportunity to develop myself. I just discovered a small part of the amazing rich Moroccan culture. I hope that I will be able to bridge a small part of a big gap between different cultures.