15 Students Spent Wintersesssion Immersed in North African History, Culture, and Politics

February 1, 2013

Fifteen Wellesley students started Spring semester this week fresh off an illuminating Wintersession program in Morocco.

The three-week program was a multidisciplinary immersion into the North African country’s language, culture, politics, and history. “Morocco was fantastic,” said participant Alice Yuan ’15. “Our program was challenging—we learned a range of topics from Arabic 101 to the political reforms of Morocco in the 21st century, but we also enjoyed excursions on camels in the Sahara Desert and visiting Volubilis. ” Previous years' participants have also called the trip "transformative," "inspirational," and "incredibly useful."

In addition to Yuan, and to faculty members Wilfrid J. Rollman, adjunct associate professor of history, and Rachid Aadnani, visiting lecturer in Middle Eastern studies, the following students participated in the 2013 Morocco Wintersession:

  • Michelle Al-Ferzly ’14
  • Pelumi Botti ’16
  • Shawna Burhans ’15
  • Jasmine Gums ’15
  • Elizabeth Kapnick ’15
  • Kaitlyn Kirkaldy ’14
  • Mackenzie Klema ’14
  • Sara Leweinstein ’15
  • Jane Lodwick ’14
  • Melissa Petit ’15
  • Nari Savanorke-Joyce ’15
  • Elena Scott-Kaures ’15
  • Cassandra Tavolarella ’13
  • Brianna White ’15

The program included daily lectures or seminars by Moroccan scholars (many of them professors at the Mohamed V University in Rabat), writers, and artists. In addition, students engaged in experiential sessions on topics such as Arabic calligraphy, Moroccan cooking, and Moroccan music, and one week was devoted to a “Southern Excursion,” with guided tours of Fes, Meknes, Ifran, Rissani, Tinghir, Ouarzazet, Marrakech, and Casablanca, and—of course—the camel ride through the Saraha Desert. Upon successful completion of Wintersession in Morocco, students receive 1.0 credit for History 290.

The Morocco Wintersession trip occurs in alternating years, and is open to students from all classes and majors. The Provost’s Office supports the program with a $1,000 grant award to each participant for program expenses. In addition, each student’s financial need for the program is met in accordance with the amount of aid she receives during the year. Students are selected through an application and interview process, on the basis of their interest in Middle Eastern, African, Islamic, or Jewish studies, the quality of their previous work, and their ability to work as members of a group.

Said participant Michelle Al-Ferzly ’14, “We were extremely fortunate to experience an immersive three weeks in the heart of North Africa at a very pivotal moment in the country’s history.”