The answers to “How was it?” and all your other questions

The answers to some common questions we’ve been getting since we’ve gotten back. If you have more questions or want to chat more with us about our experience, feel free to get in touch!

How was it?

Cori: Short answer – It was often difficult, but overall it was great. Long answer – If you want the long answer, read the blog!

Matt: Challenging but fulfilling.

Wait… how long were you gone?

Cori: 2 years and 3 months… and it felt like it.

How are the people there? Did you have any friends?

Matt: The people are great! Honestly not that different from here. The majority were incredibly friendly and welcoming but of course there were a few that tried to rip us off or take advantage of us. We had lots of friends; host family siblings, pick-up basketball friends, friendly students, some great work associates, etc.

Are you glad you did it?

Cori: Yes. Even though it was really tough at times, and I was often looking forward to coming home, I am glad I did it. I learned so much and I really think it was a unique and valuable experience that I’ll be able to draw on for the rest of my life.

Matt: Definitely. It was a huge challenge that really pulled me out of my comfort zone over and over again and pushed me to get better at things that I never thought I’d do well. It was also an incredible opportunity to integrate into a different culture to the point that I felt at home by the end. And I can’t forget the travel opportunities – we explored nearly every region of Morocco, a place that we might never have gone otherwise.

Would you do it again?

Cori: Would I do it a second time? No. Would I do it over again? Uh… yeah, I think so.

Matt: I think so. I’ve always thought it would be a great thing to do once we’re finished working.

What was the best part?

Cori: This is a tough one – I think it’s a tie between the times I felt like I was really making a connection, regardless of language, with a Moroccan; and the times I could go hike and travel out in the middle of nowhere and feel confident and competent enough in the language to go with only Americans.

Matt: The opportunities that opened up once we learned the language.

What was the worst part?

Cori: Some days I just felt like I wasn’t doing anything useful, and that my language skills were awful, and that I was a bad volunteer for any number of reasons. Those days when you get really down on yourself are definitely the worst part.

Matt: The slow times. I had a really difficult time during Ramadan our first year – I was trying to fast for the first and only time of my life and work was basically non-existent. Without those external energy inputs I just started to wilt.

Are you glad to be back?

Cori: YES.

Matt: Definitely! While it was a great experience, it feels great to be back in a place where I always (usually) know what is culturally acceptable and where it’s easier for me to join conversations.

What’s next?

Cori: Traveling and visiting more people during the summer, attending a bunch of weddings, and then finding jobs in the fall. I’m going to start looking into refugee and immigrant resettlement work, probably out of Columbus.

Matt: I’ll be with Cori for the rest of the summer, of course. Then hopefully I can find work in ecological restoration.

So that’s it, and thanks for following the blog! We’ve enjoyed keeping you all updated thoughout our journey, and we love getting your comments after each post. Talla f raskum (Take care of yourselves)!

— Cori and Matt