From Casablanca to Paris: A Student’s Journey

A student wearing a maroon top and a patterned scarf stands on a cobblestone street in front of a building with arched doorways.

“I’m a 21-year-old student from Casablanca, Morocco. I’m currently studying international relations at a university in Paris. Balancing my coursework and life in a new city has been both challenging and exciting. I’m driven and passionate about understanding global issues, but sometimes it feels like there’s so much to learn, and not enough time. Growing up in a bustling Moroccan household, meals were a central part of our family life. My mom would spend hours in the kitchen preparing traditional dishes like tagine and couscous, which I miss dearly now that I’m living abroad. My days are pretty packed. I start early with a cup of mint tea and a quick breakfast, usually a piece of khobz with olive oil and za’atar. Classes take up most of my mornings and afternoons, and when I’m not in lectures, I’m either buried in books at the library or working on group projects. Evenings are my time to unwind, maybe catch up with friends or call my family back home. It’s tough being away from them, but video calls help bridge the distance. I’m single right now, focusing on my studies and personal growth. I had a serious relationship back in high school, but we drifted apart once I moved to France. It was hard at first, but I’ve come to realize that this is my time to focus on myself and my future. I’ve made some great friends here, mostly fellow students who share my interests in politics and culture. We often explore the city together, discovering new cafes and hidden spots. I try to cook as much as I can, replicating my mom’s recipes. One of my favorites to make is harira, a hearty Moroccan soup that’s perfect for these colder months. It reminds me of home and the warmth of my family gatherings. When I’m not cooking, I love trying out different cuisines. Paris is a food lover’s paradise, and I’ve developed a particular fondness for pastries. There’s a little bakery near my apartment that makes the best croissants and pain au chocolat. My goal is to work in an international organization, maybe the UN, focusing on human rights issues. It’s a big dream, but I’m determined. There are days when the workload feels overwhelming, and I question if I’m cut out for this path. But then I think about the impact I want to make and push through. It helps to stay connected to my roots, and food is a big part of that. My favorite dish has to be pastilla, a Moroccan savory-sweet pie made with layers of thin pastry, filled with spiced meat, almonds, and cinnamon. It’s a labor of love to prepare, but so worth it. Paris is an amazing place to be a student. It’s vibrant, full of history, and there’s always something happening. Yet, no matter where I go or what I achieve, my heart will always be connected to Morocco, to the smells of my mom’s cooking.”

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