• Create the life you want to live

    When I graduated from high school in 2016, my future plans included starting to study, like everyone else, at a university in The Netherlands. Never had I imagined that this would, in fact, turn into a three-year-long process that would take an unimaginable amount of twists and turns. Right away, I faced challenges that made me stay in Germany and pushed me to start studying a Bachelor of Sociology online. At first, I really only thought about this year as a “buffer year”, where I would take a couple of classes just to keep my academic skills and to get ready for when I would “really start studying”. Of course, it wasn’t that simple. In 2017, I faced more challenges that made me, for the second time, have to delay my entry to university by a year. It may seem trivial, but seeing your friends and classmates from high school all attend university and live the student lifestyle can seriously…

  • Finding Friends While Abroad

    If you have been solo travelling for a while, you know the feeling of loneliness quite well. It’s unfortunate but it’s true: finding friends when abroad is difficult! Considering that you are already out of your comfort zone, thinking about going all out and socializing with complete strangers can be scary. How should you do it? Should you simply approach strangers on the streets, buy them coffee and ask them to be your friend? Don’t worry, there are simpler ways.   Meetup and Internations   One thing is for certain: unless you are in a secluded village far away from any big city, there are definitely other solo travellers out there feeling the way you do. Use apps and websites like Meetup and Internations, but be careful about going to meetings late at night, and be careful about who you are meeting. You may get a message from a nice local offering you to show you around, but if you’ve…

  • The Last Few Days in Morocco

    My last few days in Morocco were great, but oh, so emotional. Imagine living with the same family for two months, getting used to the routine, the food, the funs and laughs with your ‘brothers’, and meeting a great team of colleagues. Luckily, there is a possibility that I will work remotely for Mayshad, and will be coming back to Morocco in June for the Mayshad festival, thus it’s only a short-term goodbye. As I said to my friend Eugenie, who left about a month before me, la meilleure façon de partir, c’est quand tu sais que tu vas revenir. (“The best way to leave, is knowing that you will come back”.) Now, without further ado, here is an account of my last days in Morroco. Friday 22nd March Today was my last day at work. It was an emotional one. It’s crazy how close you can grow to others in such a short period of time! The skills I…

  • Trauma and Nightmare Conference – Gdansk 2019

    As I’ve mentioned it in quite a few posts, taking part in conferences is a great way of getting your name out there and getting some exposure. I’ve been accepted to another conference, however as it takes place in Gdansk on March 22nd, I will still be in Morocco at that time.   Luckily, in our day and age, it is possible to send e-versions of presentations, so I’m happy to share that I’ll be e-attending another conference!   This conference is on the topic of trauma and nightmare. As I have done quite a lot of research on the horrible procedure that is Female Genital Mutilation, I decided to apply for this conference to share my thoughts and observations on this topic.   I will be filming the presentation in the coming weeks, so stay tuned as I will be posting it in another blog post!

  • Tips for Female Travellers in Morocco

    Are you thinking of coming to Morocco? You’ve heard about the recent tragedy and are questioning if you really should come? Are you coming alone, as a woman, and are worried about it? Let me give you a few tips I’ve developed over the past few years.   Sunglasses and earphones are your best friend. Let’s face it, tourists are often easy to spot. As a woman (who does not look Moroccan whatsoever), catcalling and street harassment occur on a daily basis. The first time I came here, I was so shocked by it that I resorted to staying in my accommodation and only leaving when I really had to. What a boring way to visit a country! The second time around, I knew this in advance. I, therefore, bought a good pair of sunglasses, brought my earphones with me (discreet, Bluetooth ones are great so you don’t have to worry about your phone being ripped away), and immediately felt…

  • How to: Manage Projects Efficiently

    I am currently sitting in the restaurant of the IBIS Hotel in Marrakech, where I have come to meet the president of the Mayshad Foundation, Nezha Alaoui, and to meet my father who’s arriving tomorrow. Meeting Nezha was quite spontaneous, as it was organised only a few days before each of our arrivals. She usually resides in New York and tends to travel around quite a lot for Mayshad-related affairs. It just so happened that I was travelling down to Marrakech that very weekend.   Anyways, this post is not about the meeting, but it is about something we discussed today: constantly multitasking, and managing various projects simultaneously. See, today I realised that Nezha and I are quite similar in this way; we both are fueled by productivity, we need to have multiple things to do, multiple projects to be in charge of, to thrive. On my part, this is why I started this blog and the business; studying online…

  • A Night Out in Rabat

    It’s 7:30 PM, I’m walking home from a study session. It’s Friday! I came to work today although it’s technically my day off, as there was a lot of work left to be done. It’s been a long, strenuous day (and week!) and I can’t wait to drop my bag, drink some tea with the family, and relax.   I arrive to find Saad (14), Yassir (15) and Mohammed (24) all sitting in the living room watching some skateboarding videos. Mohammed tells me about this Moroccan concert taking place tonight in the Renaissance café/cinema, just a 20-minute walk from here. It’ll be nice to get my head out of the work-study mindset for an evening, so we get ready and get going.   Eugénie, our French friend, joins us as we arrive at the event. We arrived late so there are only a few places left to sit on the floor– right at the front. Not really knowing what to…

  • TEDx Event: Why You Should Attend Conferences

    On Saturday, the 2nd of March 2019, I attended the TEDx event “Identifying Identity”. This was my first TED event, and it was really a great one. The range of speakers was quite extensive: Niklas Kebbon (the Swedish ambassador to Morocco), Camélia Meftoul (a young civil engineer), Yassine Motaouakkil (a young professional), Zohreh Tabatabai (a former UN staff member that spoke about the variety of identities, and brought the topic back to the simple notion that we are all human beings), Magdalena Kowalczyk (a former boxer, an actress and generally a really cool person), and Florian Langenscheidt, among many others.   There is always something empowering and inspiring about attending conferences. Not only are you in a room full of people that have accomplished amazing things, but you have the opportunity to go up to each and everyone of them and introduce yourself. This is something that we, young people, need to start doing more. Unfortunately, conferences and networking skills…

  • Studying and Interning: A Day in the Life

    I often get the question “how do you get to travel so much while studying?”. In this post, I will go through a typical day in my life here in Morocco, where I am interning and completing my BA in Sociology.    8 AM: I wake up, hear Khadija (my host mother) preparing the tea and breakfast. I get up quickly, get ready for the day, and make my way to the living room.   8:45 AM: Time to go. Mayshad is just a 15-minute walk from home, so I put on my sunglasses, my earphones, and say hello to our neighbours on my way to work.   9 AM: I arrive at the office. Asma, my colleague, opens up for us and we get started. On today’s agenda: Record one or two of the modules of our online course Meeting about the couscous project in Southern Morocco Phonecall with Nezha regarding the course we are launching in the US…

  • TEDx “We Are the World – Identifying Identity” Event

    On the 2nd of March 2019, I will be travelling down to Marrakech from Rabat to attend the TEDx “We Are the World – Identifying Identity” event. As I am interning in Morocco and am in touch with women coming from a panoply of cultures, I thought this would be a great conference to attend. There will be amazing speakers, such as the Swedish Ambassador Niklas Kebbon, Zoreh Tabatabai who was employed at the UN Headquarters, and Dr Florian Langenscheidt, a dedicated environmental activist.   I have been attending conferences since 2017 to begin networking and to meet various academics and speakers that work and are interested in the same fields as I am. For the other young people out there: look out for conferences near you to begin networking! Conferences are amazing platforms to put your name out there likewise to learn about interesting topics.   Keep posted for a post that outlines how to network successfully!

  • Introducing the Mayshad Foundation

    From January to the end of March 2019, I am in Morocco as an intern for the Mayshad Foundation. The Mayshad Foundation aims at empowering the youth and women by giving them valuable life skills, such as entrepreneurship and leadership. Mayshad works as an ‘ecosystem’, a greater project that is separated into various distinct parts. To achieve our goals, we hold conferences, namely at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, hold workshops in American universities, invite interns to our offices, have boutique hotels to sell our luxurious items to raise funds for the foundation, organise festivals to allow leaders and entrepreneurs to begin networking, and own riads in Morocco which are both sources of income and employment for the local population. As an intern for the foundation, I am responsible for a number of things. For example, I am creating a 12-Week course on the topic of leadership based on Nezha Alaoui’s (Mayshad’s president) book. I also support my coworkers in…