Parting Words

Before I part ways with Tangier, I do not wish to say goodbye. Goodbye marks an end. Instead, I will leave with “See you soon.” I do not consider this last week to be my final encounter with the ever-changing city. I am young, with a wide-open future. “Everything happens for a reason” is a quote I was raised on. Life is a trail, a combination of forks in the road. Although I have the power to influence my direction, I do not have the ability to create the trails. Some paths may lead to the same destination, but they will take you on a different course. There will be some paths that lead you far from where you intended to go, but their purpose is to help you find who you are.

Morocco was the path that led me in what appeared to be, at least at first, that “wrong direction.” Before I finished my first semester in college, I was given the offer to switch my major from psychology to social work. Because the social work program was new, however, I would be forced to graduate later than my original date of May 2019. This meant I now had the opportunity to take a leave of absence, declare a minor, or study abroad. Taking a leave of absence never crossed my mind, so that left me with two options. As I was still unsure whether a career in psychology or social work was in my future, I made the decision to travel to Morocco.

Words can’t explain the anxiety that ran through my body when I received the acceptance letter. The coming of that letter meant that my second semester was going to be spent overseas, in North Africa. I had never left the United States before and wondered if studying in Morocco was going to be a waste of my time. I believed there was no possible way I could better my understanding of psychology in Tangier.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong. The lessons I have learned while in Morocco are unobtainable in a lecture hall. I’ve learned philosophy from those who have so little. I have seen people who have all the reasons to hate everything smile wider than humanly possible. I’ve seen a homeless family give up the food I gave to them because someone else down the street had a baby girl who needed it more. I’ve even been lectured about the meaning of life over a cup of steaming mint tea.

Studying in Tangier has provided lessons that will last a lifetime. No matter my career, no matter my location, I will always remember the place that opened my eyes. I’ve always been thankful for what I have but, after spending four months here, I realize just how fortunate I am. One day I will return and I will learn much, much more.

Boarding the plane at Logan was my first step on the questionable path. Somehow, that path still led me to where I was destined to go.

—Kevin Thibodeau

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