Travels make the best stories

Travelling broadens your horizon, both in the literal and figurative way. When I look back at my adventures in my home country Holland and abroad, I can only acknowledge they changed me irreversibly. I was lucky enough to see quite a bit of our world but of course there will always remain dreams and wishes. Which is a good thing in my opinion. High on my travel wishlist are Peru, South Africa, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Russia. But no hurry, all in good time. I might even enjoy the period prior to departure most. The waiting in anticipation is really part of the experience of travelling, in my opinion. As you might have guessed I’m not much of a last minute traveller. Except for one trip that changed my life…

Doing research in Morocco

The moment I had to start my master’s thesis (MS Intercultural Communication), an adventure started that I had never even imagined before. I had to search for a project, an investigation I could do which would have the potential for groundbreaking results. Of course, I could have just ‘shaped one’ according to the example of a previous study to see if its results would also apply under slightly different conditions. That would have been the easy way. But I wanted something new. I dreamed of doing research which would give me those groundbreaking results and in which I could make connections that weren’t made before. Besides that, I knew I wanted to do an experiment. After completing my bachelor at a UPE, I couldn’t handle one more survey. There are so many more research methods! So, an experiment. But about what? And on whom?

One of the doctors at my faculty made me a proposal: there was this European reading project which consisted of a study in The Netherlands, Russia and Morocco. I could do the Moroccan study for my graduation. Normally I would have never just said ‘yes’ to something that ‘big’. I would have first wanted to think it over and weigh the pros and cons, etc. But this time I didn’t, not at all. Something in my intuition said ‘do it’! And so it happened. I left for Morocco to conduct the experiment. In Standard Arabic. Which was quite the experience, I can say. Of course I knew exactly what was in which condition (I had three) but had a subject asked me about a specific word or sentence, I wouldn’t have been able to help him. That annoyed me but also made me curious about the language: I had to decode this linguistic art. But first I wanted to finish this study, graduate, get my diploma. Then I could study Arabic, in Morocco.

To be continued in a next blog…


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