The group from the 2016 PDO about to head off to the airport.

A Second Pre Departure Orientation

A guest post I wrote about volunteering for the National Youth Leadership Initiative for Youth program was just published on NSLI-Y Interactive.

In writing it, I was again reminded of how lucky I have been to have had that experience in Morocco, and how my NSLI-Y journey continues to this day. I have been able to be a part of several alumni events promoting study abroad, NSLI-Y, and cross-cultural communication since returning. Through that, I have met some incredible people that inspire me to continue my own language learning and remind me that this truly is a small world.

A tour of American University for WYLET
A tour of American University for WYLET

In the past month alone, I met a summer Turkey alumni rocking a NSLI-Y water bottle at my neighborhood coffee shop, and ran into a fellow international exchange alumni from an AFS PDO two years previously.

The NSLI-Y Interactive post was sparked by another PDO in June, where  I was given the opportunity to serve for the second time as a program alumni for the same trip I went on in 2013.

I wrote about the first PDO, and this year’s group of students was just as inquisitive and full of excitement for the trip they were departing on. I enjoyed teaching them what I could, but got an incredible amount out of learning alongside them. I had forgotten so much and the implementing organization, iEARN, and Resident Director, Kelly, both brought out the excitement of language learning and pre-trip departure that I had missed.

The group from the 2016 PDO about to head off to the airport.
The group from the 2016 PDO about to head off to the airport.

This was the second PDO I had volunteered with NSLI-Y for, but in a way it was also the second Morocco PDO for me personally. This fall I will be returning to Rabat, Morocco for a full semester as part of an American University study abroad program.

I am excited to get back to the country that I have been talking about nonstop since I left, and to do so with a little more experience behind me. My NSLI-Y trip was what determined my direction towards Middle East and North African study at university, and I look forward to using what I learned in-country. Having also already been introduced to the city, I hope to jump right into making the most of my time there.

By the end of the month I’ll have landed and been settled with a host family. I have an idea of what to expect, but am looking forward to the adventure of what is still to be discovered. Hello again, Rabat!

Jack Struck

Student in our nation's capital, studying International Relations with a focus on the Middle East. Web designer, runner, reader, and leader.

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