Showing posts from December, 2018

December 12

I woke up in the morning realizing that it was our last day in Qatar and the final day of our study tour. In the morning, our group had a field trip to the Slavery Museum and the Company House Museum. Both were very educational and taught our group a lot about Qatar's history and how finding oil made them become one of the richest nations in the world.
After the field trip I went home with my host brother and we had dinner with his family. For dinner we ate lamb, chicken and beef kebabs and hummus and bread. After dinner my host and I went to Souq Waqif and bought gifts for my family. Towards the end of the day we got crepes in the Souq and went home to say goodbye to my host family. My host father, my host brother, his friend and I got in the car and left for the airport. When we arrived, we said our goodbyes and departed for the U.S.A.
-James Rodican

December 10

As usual, the day started with a delightfully frantic scramble to get dressed, fed, and in the car. Our whole group convened in front of Middle East International School before cramming onto our bus and heading off on our adventure to Education City. In spite of the close quarters and terrible traffic, most of us were happy for the opportunity to catch up on our sleep. When we arrived to Education City we were ushered into the Qatar branch of Georgetown University.
There we were given a short presentation on their International Business curriculum the school, as well as a short tour around the campus.  We were then whisked off to the Carnegie Mellon Qatar campus where we received similar treatment, learning about the technology- centered curriculum and given a brief tour before visiting the final school of the day, Northwestern Qatar.

There we learned about their approach to teaching journalism and studying communications. After the initial presentation at Northwestern Qatar we wer…

December 11

I started off the day by scrambling to get ready after waking up nearly 30 minutes late. As my host student Yordan and I ran out the door, I grabbed the latte that my host dad had made for me. We hopped into the Uber and headed to the Middle East International School hoping the bus to the day's adventures had not left without us. Luckily enough, we made it on time and began the journey to our first destination, the Museum of Islamic Art. From the outside it was already apparent that this facility was state of the art, just like everything else we have seen so far in Doha. As we entered we were greeted by cheerful museum curators and a cascading spiral staircase that took my breathe away. Past the staircase was a huge window looking out to the water with the best possible view of Doha City Center.
Myself along with MaryAlice and Fatima walked around seeing artifacts such as 1000 year old jewelry, historic rugs, pottery and weapons. We then decided to take a break and grab a bite to…

December 9

December 9th was yet another school day we got to share with our hosts! I got to enjoy the sight of two libraries--the school one, in which my fellow students and I studied in while our hosts went to class, and the Qatar National Library, which a small group of friends and I headed out to visit after school. As a bookworm, this was obviously quite exciting to me; I’d heard glowing praise for the National Library, and it thoroughly lived up to my expectations (and then some!) The drive out to the library was cramped and riddled with traffic, the seven of us all piling into one car for the duration of the drive, backpacks and all. The sight of the library itself, though, made those twenty minutes of awkward travel entirely worth it. The building was sleek, metal and glass and downright beautiful--even more so upon walking in. There were books as far as the eye could see, glossy white floors leading up to perfectly smooth shelves lined with colorful volumes of every genre imaginable--hist…

December 7

To start the day off, my family and I shared a conversation about America at the table. The beginning of my day consisted mostly of staying in the house and relaxing. Around 4 in the afternoon my host and I went out to Souq Waqif. Souq Waqif is Qatar’s oldest market and offers an authentic shopping experience. In the souq one can find many things such as essential oils, traditional clothing, a plethora of spices and many other products. I bought a couple of souvenirs, such as keychains and a water bottle with Qatar’s flag on it. At the souq we watched some interesting dances. One dance included men wearing white clothing and riding fake horses while dancing to Arabic music. After walking around for hours and looking at many cool things… we met up with a couple of other CGS students and their hosts. We walked around for a while together and tried to find a restaurant that would accept a group of twelve. Finally, we found a Turkish restaurant that allowed us to sit on the balcony. Sittin…

December 5

On our first day in Qatar, we landed at Doha airport at 4:50 in the morning. We waited there for a few hours until people from Middle East International School school came to pick us up. When we got to MIS, the hosts were waiting in a conference room with a cake for my birthday. After this, the hosts gave us a tour of the school.
Since we were exhausted, the MIS hosts and CGS students were dismissed early from school. My host and I went home with another host and she showed me around the house. For lunch, we ordered McDonald’s (a little taste of home), and then I took a nap because I was exhausted. After I woke up, she introduced me to her mom, dad, and two siblings. When it came time for dinner, we had a more traditional meal, Shawarma, and Falafel with Tabbouleh, which was delicious. After dinner, my host and I watched our new favorite show, while talking about what we should do and see on the trip.

-Marie Berliet

December 6

I woke up to the sound of my host mother knocking on the door to wake my host sister and I for my first day of school with her. We quickly got ready and made our way to school to meet all the other exchange students and get ready for the long day ahead of us. We all attended classes with our hosts and found ourselves paying attention to all the different teaching styles and the different environments as compared to our classes back in Brien McMahon. The school day ended and we quickly got prepared for our trip to sealine, which is an area in Qatar where one can camp out or scale the dunes while still enjoying the view of the water. The ride to sealine was about an hour and some people decided to talk with their friends while others decided to catch up on some sleep. When we finally arrived at sealine everyone was immediately stunned by the beautiful view that was right in front of us. The host for our campout in the desert showed us the way to where we’d be staying for the rest of the d…

December 8

Ahlan from Qatar! Today is the eigth of December and we explored the Sheikh Faisal Museum with a few of our hosts. We all met at Middle East International School around 8 this morning and we headed off on the bus with Ustaz, Kristin and two MIS teachers, Ms. Lottie and Ms. Pagano. We got a bit lost on the way there as our bus driver didn’t know where to go and our GPS led us astray. Eventually, we made it. We waited for our tour guide in an enormous hall with these gorgeous ceilings covered in colorful criss-cross patterns and we mingled for a few minutes until we were told to leave our things in the hall and continue to the museum for our tour. Our guide gave us a brief history of Qatar and described the collection to us.
The entire collection is privately owned and collected by Shaikh Faisal! The collection is huge- from bright red Cadillac convertibles to camel saddles from the 19th century. The tour guide emphasized the main functions of Islamic art - everything was meant to be …

December 4

After spending nearly a week with our host families in Morocco, today we departed for Qatar. It is always difficult to find yourself having to leave someone and in this case somewhere as well, that you have found yourself attached to. Saying goodbye to the people that took you in and treated you as if you were family, and showed you how much fun an unfamiliar place could be is especially hard. Some of us may never be back to Morocco, so the time we spent here will forever live on in our memories.  In addition, the families that made it such an enjoyable experience will always have a special place in our hearts. After one last class at Bridges Cultural Center, we departed for the airport in Casablanca.

The second chapter of the journey now starts after the conclusion of the first. After an exciting time in Morocco, the group is now ready to have just as much fun in Qatar. The flight, however, is a very lengthy one, totaling around 8 hours. Qatar Airlines should make it an enjoyable e…

December 3

This morning, my host mother (خميلة) made Marie, Fiona, and I raghif (رغيف) with honey, bread with cheese, and of course, the traditional mint tea of Morocco. After breakfast, all of us met at Bridges, the school we have been been taking classes at, for a 9:30 Arabic lesson taught by Moroccoan natives. In this class, we studied means of transportation and types of vacations. When our lesson concluded, we made our way to the other Bridges in Rabat, which is around five minutes away. There, we were taught how to make the Moroccan pancakes and tea we had all come to know so well throughout our time here. First, we started out with mixing the ingredients for the dough in a bowl.
Next, we kneaded the dough until it was just right. Finally, we put oil on our hands, so that the dough would not stick to them, and created balls of dough to be put on the pan and fried. After our pancakes were done, the girls and two boys were offered to dress in traditional Arab clothing. We had so much fun dr…

November 28 and 29

The flight to Madrid was not up to most people’s standards, but overall I thought it was a good flight. When we got to Madrid we bought some food at the convenience store and explored all the expensive stores that were everywhere in that terminal. The wait for our flight was somewhat long, but we had Bitlife, so we were fine. On the flight to Casablanca I slept so well. Arriving in Casablanca made the trip feel so real and a wave happiness struck me.

We went through customs and then outside. It was very warm and all the signs were written in Arabic. We waited at the corner of the street for a van to transport us to Rabat, where we would be staying. The drive was quite long, but all of the scenery was so cool. However, it would not compare to what we would see later on, which was so much more beautiful. First, we arrived at the Bridges Cultural Center, where we met the teachers and administrators. Their English was very good. They had lunch prepared for us and we were served this ama…

December 1

Today we woke up early to get on a bus for Fes, one of the most culturally significant places in Morocco. We said goodbye to our host families and buckled in for the three-hour long trip. When we finally arrived at Fes, we checked into our hotel and quickly headed across the street to a restaurant for lunch. They served us a delicious bean soup, followed up with the main course. I ordered kebabs, and while they were amazing, there were so many that I couldn’t finish them all before we had to leave. Our tour guide then led us through some of the oldest streets in Fes; some were barely wide enough to walk through in a single-file line. They were also dark. Without our guide, we would have been lost in minutes, as Fes is practically a maze for an outsider. After that, our guide led us into the old medina, built in the seventh century. There, the streets were full of people shopping and vendors selling goods, as well as lots of stray cats, waiting to grab any dropped food or any meat with…

November 30

On the second day in Morocco, we started the day off with Arabic classes. After stuffing our faces we went on a guided tour of Rabat, stopping at many historical sites. These places included the Hassan Tower and the Old Medina. After a long, exciting day we returned to our host families, which was my favorite part of the day. 

The ride home was a hilarious one considering the driver spoke no English and we had no address. Fatima and I live on a very busy street filled with markets and local shops so I was very excited to be able to experience night life in Rabat! When we reached our house, we were greeted with fresh donuts and other pastries and then we took a walk through the town. 

Our hosts made us try their favorite delicacy... snails! We were given the snail broth to wash down the taste of snail. As a treat they bought us flowers from the cactus plant which surprisingly don’t taste bad. These foods are definitely an acquired taste but I am grateful for the experience. After that we…

December 2

This morning at around 8:30, everyone’s day started by getting ready and making the dreadful walk down all the stairs to the main lobby.

Once downstairs and somewhat awake, we enjoyed our breakfast of orange juice or coffee, and Moroccan pancakes, bread, and pound cake. Something very interesting about their coffee, is how they serve it. They pour milk into the cup, and the coffee after.  This means that the ratio of milk to coffee is unequal, but it doesn’t matter because it tastes good that way. Once finished with breakfast (at around 10 o’clock), we grabbed our belongings and headed outside to where our van/bus was waiting for us to make the 3 hour drive back to Rabat. About half way through our long and tiring journey, we jumped out, stretched our legs, used the facilities, and got snacks to keep our stomachs and minds happy. Once the ride was finally over and we had arrived back to Bridges, we all waited for our host families to come and pick us up (or for the taxis to come pic…