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Connecting Language and Culture in Morocco

Lorenzo Greenbaum spoke four languages before he enrolled at Middlebury. He grew up in Rome and is a native Italian speaker. He also has native English, thanks to his American father, and he is fluent in French and Spanish. He enrolled at Middlebury College, because he had heard that it was a haven for language learners, and he wanted to tackle a new language in college. After considering Russian and Chinese, he chose Arabic because he was fascinated by the part of the world where that language was spoken.

Lorenzo discovered that Arabic is considerably more difficult to master than the Romance languages he already spoke. He supplemented his undergraduate classes with a summer at the Arabic School and then spent 15 months studying Modern Standard Arabic and Moroccan colloquial Arabic in Rabat, Morocco.

His Moroccan adventure began in the summer of 2016 with an internship in Rabat, followed by a semester attending Mohammed V University through the Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad. He remained in Rabat through the spring 2017 semester and the following summer, doing translation work, before returning to Middlebury for his senior year. Throughout his time in Morocco, he lived with host families and spoke Arabic exclusively.

“I loved my experience throughout, as academically the program was very strong. I could feel my Arabic improving every week, as well as my colloquial Arabic. Not only did my language skills improve, but I also learned a great deal inside and outside the classroom about Moroccan culture…  I think my favorite part about this whole experience was not the academic opportunities that the program offered, but the ability that learning the local dialect gave me to connect to Moroccans and talk about their dreams and ambitions.” 

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