Remember that episode of Community (what’s that, you ask? How about GET OUTTA HERE bc dat sh** ain’t gon fly here *_*) where Troy has a candy cigarette because he’s sick of being treated like a kid?
That is pretty much how I felt these past two days at my placement. But not for the same reasons. No, not even remotely close. Although, I could really go for a candy cigarette or 5. PLUS, I really wanted to use this gif in my blog post because I still vividly remember cracking up to this scene when I first watched it, for a good 5 minutes 😀 HOW GOOD IS IT!
OK, back to the issue at hand. So, I’ve been feeling super frustrated at how intense and overwhelming the language barrier is out here. Don’t get me wrong, I am increasingly learning to appreciate my trip as each day passes. There are lots of cultural differences that I am thankful for, for it has made me realize that people tend to live differently but oh so beautifully, despite the background differences.
When I decided on embarking upon this challenging, once-in-a-lifetime adventure, I was aware that language, culture, style of living (among other things) would bear vast distinctions. Little did I know that they would be so drastic!
If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that I spent my weekend in Fez with 7 very lovely French Canadian girls. While we spoke French and English, I felt like my brain was going through a language overload. Speaking in English and trying to grasp French in conversational mode AND trying my hardest to speak in Arabic for the group when neither of the previous two languages worked, when negotiating with cabbies or shop keepers, my brain was ready to explode just a teeny tiny little bit.
I think it was relieving to have a bit of a cry about how difficult this journey has been, because it’s been just that – difficult – and it pains me that I have come all the way to Morocco to a part of this amazing project, only to be placed at a disadvantage because we don’t speak the same language.
A sweet sense of relief has come in the form of a lovely lady from Canada called Anna – she has been my pathway to communicate with more people and/or get around the medina more. She speaks English and French and you have no idea how fantastic it feels to be able to function in society again, thanks to her English speaking background!
I have to say, though – I am one lucky girl to have had the opportunity to work with 6 very special children and their lovely assistants, so luckily, we work together in unison, despite the language barrier. It may not be easy, but I guess it helps to know that the assistants are recognizing the hard work I’ve been putting into this project, making sure I can assist and bring in the knowledge that I have obtained via my uni studies into this project.
There are times when I’m not sure if they understand the strategies I suggest or the techniques I model, and whether it’s disrespectful or discouraging to incorporate myself into their classroom activities, but I guess you won’t know unless you try and see a difference in the child’s performance in those activities, right?