After participating in Darija Club last spring and then traveling to Morocco this summer, I have been able to help lead the club this semester. In case you are not familiar with the term, Moroccan Darija refers to the dialect of Arabic spoken in Morocco, which has many grammatical and phonetic differences from the standard language.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to put into use the Darija that I learned this summer, as well as to share some of the songs that I heard in the music club there. James and I designed the lesson plans to cover some of the most immediately relevant topics for students in Morocco, such as greetings, travel, food, and health. In addition to the related vocabulary, we have incorporated a different grammatical topic that differs from standard Arabic each week. There are not many resources for Darija, but the Peace Corps has produced a useful textbook, and I kept my materials from the summer program.
While Darija has long been a fringe dialect of Arabic, it has recently begun spreading within the Arab world through music production. Here is one of the songs that we have listened to, “Ngoul Mali” by Fnaire, which has English, Arabic, and French subtitles.
Receiving the Gilman scholarship covered a lot of my expenses for my summer study abroad in Morocco. I would definitely recommend applying for it, especially if you have financial need or are studying a critical language. Since there is no Gilman representative at OU, here is my experience of applying for the scholarship.
First of all, there are two different application deadlines. I chose to apply for the earlier deadline, even though this meant I did not have all the details for my program and not even been accepted into it yet. While I was accepted, I was told by others that there is some room for accomodation if you end up changing from your original plan. The benefit of applying for the early deadline is that you receive notice of the award much earlier. If you are dependent on financial aid for studying abroad, as I was, this can be crucial in planning. You can see the full list of deadlines here.
The application is fairly straightforward. It includes information about yourself and the program, an essay, and a follow-on service project proposal. One potentially confusing detail is that the information about the program and the application itself are found on two different sites. Also remember to save your password somewhere – you will still need it when you return.
As you are applying, remember to leave yourself time to contact a number of people. There is only one financial advisor at OU, but you will need to contact the study abroad office to figure out who your advisor is, if your regular study abroad advisor is not also a Gilman advisor. You may need more information than you have about the program itself. The service project will also require you to contact people on campus to make sure that your proposal is feasible.
Speaking of the service project, try to maintain a balance between what will be sufficient effort but also what will be feasible upon your return. Keep in mind your class schedule and any jobs that you have that might affect your ability to complete it. Think of groups you will be engaged with and how they mind benefit from awareness about the Gilman scholarship.
Assuming that many of my readers are Global Engagement Fellows, the Gilman Scholarship would be an excellent option for many you. The Spring 2018 and Summer 2018 applications are currently open, and I encourage you all to apply.
Boomer Sooner at Baab Mansour in Meknes