Thank You & Some Feelings

So, I am pretty much back to my normal life. I am sleeping in pretty much every single day (not the best habit to get into before school starts), I am cooking stuff that I am used to eat, and most of all, I am living with people who can understand what I am speaking (and also thankful for the working shower). I have so many people to thank for supporting me throughout my 10 weeks of studying abroad. Without them, I don’t think I would have made it.

First and foremost, I want to thank my family, particularly my parents. You really have to give them credits: what kind of parents would pay money to let their son go off on his own to Europe and Africa learning something that has practically nothing to do with what he is studying in college? (To Mom and Dad: I love you.) I am thankful to have them support me financially and mentally while I was abroad. Most of the financial resources that paid for my program fees, tuition, and other related costs came from the university financial aid (federal, state, and school) and scholarships, in particular the Gilman Scholarship. Thanks to them, my family doesn’t have to go bankrupt sending me abroad. I also would like to thank all my friends, in Taiwan, in Minnesota and other states of the US, and all over the world. Thank you guys for giving me mental support and listening to me complaining when I obviously shouldn’t be. I am so lucky and I love you guys all. I want to thank the Ben Yassin Family in Fès who welcomed me to the city when I couldn’t even effectively communicate with them. They have done so much for me and I am truly grateful. I also want to thank the U of M Learning Abroad Center for setting up wonderful programs for students to attend. I want to thank Dr. M. E. White for making the Florence program the best class I have ever attended. I want to thank Dr. Ianeva-Lockney (who was my first Norwegian instructor) for writing me that recommendation letter that allowed to me be accepted to the Morocco program. I want to thank all the people who participated in my Weekly Photo Project (in particular Michelle H. and Citty C.). Last but not least, I want to thank whoever has been, was, is, or will be reading my blog.

Now we are done with the touchy feelings, I just have some comments and advices. Regarding the Cordoba House to be built in New York City… I am usually not a very political person and I am not a supporter of any political parties. But having just returned from a Muslim country, I have to say that Americans aren’t showing as much tolerance as they should, not to mention that it’s not even a mosque they are building. I walked on the streets of Fès and was never ever harassed because I am not a Muslim. There are Christian churches in the Kingdom of Morocco and you don’t see anyone having a problem with them. Yes, 9/11 happened and yes, those who attacked America were Muslims, that doesn’t mean people should generalize the entire Muslim population as terrorists and hate on them. If we can’t even tolerate a Muslim community center, how can we expect people of other countries to understand that the US is a country proud of its “freedoms” and tolerant of all people regardless of their religions? We always fear what we don’t understand, so why not use this opportunity to show that the US actually opens her arms to all religions and melt the hatred and fear that led to 9/11 in the first place?

With regard to people who are still wondering whether they should studying abroad, I say, stop wondering and go apply for a program already. It really will be a life-changing experience.

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