When it came time for third culture kid Fathin Fauzy to venture into university, she knew she was in for a study abroad adventure. You see, the diplomat’s daughter had already spent a good chunk of her life living and learning outside her home country when she decided to study in Morocco.
Curious and energetic, the Malaysian considers herself an ambivert. She enjoys experiencing different cultures and cuisines and taking part in high-adrenaline activities. At the same time, she jumps on the opportunity to relax by herself, setting up the ambience with fragrant candles and music. Study International caught up with her about her study in Morocco; here’s what the communications graduate had to say.
Tell us about yourself. Why did you choose to study abroad?
I have been an international student for the majority of my life and studying abroad was all I knew. It was not a choice but more of a lifestyle that was embedded into me. Even if I had the choice to study back home, there was much more to see, learn, and experience by going abroad. I was already living abroad so it seemed like a no-brainer to continue my university experience overseas.
Why did you choose to study in Ifrane, Morocco? What did you like most about studying here?
To study in Ifrane, Morocco was not exactly my first choice but I chose to go through with it because I like challenging myself with the extraordinary. It was definitely a change of pace and scenery. Moroccan culture is a mixture of European and Asian culture, so I think I adapted fairly well.
Studying in Morocco presented me with a new, relaxed way of life. It taught me to be more mindful and appreciative of the present with minimal distractions. It taught me to make more decisions that were beneficial for me rather than always worrying about whether it would work for others. Morocco also had quite a slow-paced culture which I was not used to, but it taught me to be more patient and careful of everything life threw at me.
What did you study and why?
I studied Communication Studies, which was a very broad course. It delved into everything from journalism and broadcasting to content creating, sociology, and psychology. I focused on photojournalism as a major but I do enjoy learning in general, so this course allowed me to focus outside of my major as well, which really appealed to me.
Tell us about your most memorable time at Al Akhawayn University.
I really enjoyed the idea of learning outside of the classroom and a huge part of my syllabus required us to conduct our research and interviews within the community. This further allowed me to immerse myself into and absorb more about the Moroccan culture.
Growing up, I had always been on a football team. However, this time I decided to take up a new sport and it happened to be rugby. Both the boys and girls team trained together (in and out of practice), had meals together, supported each other throughout everything. There really was a strong family bond within that team that I had not experienced anywhere else. I’m very grateful for how joining the team taught me to be consistently supportive physically, mentally and emotionally.
On top of all that, the location of my university was absolutely stunning. It was up in the mountains, in a very small town. Although there was not much to do and it was a huge contrast to city life, it was incredibly peaceful and serene. The town really grew on me and made me appreciate not only living a quiet mountain life but just being present, learning about and understanding myself.
What are your top recommendations or advice to others planning to study in Morocco?
Honestly, just go for it. Especially, if you are an avid traveller, learner, and enjoy a contrasting way of life than your own. Morocco is a beautiful country and has an incredible culture that I believe everyone should experience if they get the opportunity. Even better if you can make that opportunity.
Even with minimal research, it is easy to get around and definitely worth your time (and possibly the hassle) to gain a new perspective. Do your research but also keep an open mind and allow yourself to absorb as much of the lifestyle and culture without judgment. Morocco may not have been my first choice but it was one of the most enlightening experiences I have had.
What are your plans for the future?
The programme I chose to study and the job and industry I am presently in do complement each other in ways that I was not initially aware of, which I am very happy with. I have been able to take different aspects of my study programme and apply it to my working environment with ease and understanding.
I am currently working as a Marketing and Public Relations Executive in the fashion industry but plan to pursue my master’s some time in the future. I may want to learn more about business within the marketing world in the hopes of launching and running my own business.