Reflections from a 2020-21 Joint-Supervision Grantee in the US: Zineb Mahrez

”The Fulbright adventure is a truly unique experience, rich and full of valuable lessons and discoveries, from both academic and socio-cultural perspectives. My Fulbright journey started in Blacksburg, a college town in Virginia that has an exceptional identity, marked by its beautiful nature and peaceful life. My story in the US features different stages, which made my experience so special.

Exploring the new life

The first two months were all about discovery: the nice campus buildings, the warm and welcoming study areas and libraries, the advanced science and technologies laboratories, the culture diversity, and the wide variety of consumer products. I was particularly impressed by the abundance of information in every process and operation. I learned to read much more than I used to and I have acquired the good skills to dominate the finer details in every activity.

Culture and nature

The next phase of my journey was marked by Ramadan, when I really enjoyed sharing part of our traditional dishes served during the sacred month, with all my new friends. At that moment, I felt the heavy weight of responsibility in representing my country, the Moroccan culture and the Moroccan traditions. Few months later, I got the chance to travel and visit other states. Hiking was mainly part of the plan. I was amazed by the fierce beauty of nature on the American continent, in particular the spectacular fall foliage, where you can feel the therapy of nature and its healing power.

Community Development

Later on, after I had been adapted to the new American context and culture, I began to explore the multi-dimensional particularities of each of the two countries.

There is a certain resemblance between the U.S and Morocco in the way they welcome the diversity of cultures and promote their coexistence. It appears to be one of the essential ingredients to ensure stability of the communities as well as their prosperity.

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