Alison Elder

Alison Elder


Alison Elder

2013


Major - International Studies and English Literature

Study Abroad program - ISA in Meknes, Morocco and India internship

Countries visited - Morocco, India

Post-Study Abroad - I'm currently finishing up my service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Boudnib, Morocco. While serving as a PCV, I founded the Sahara Service Organization to facilitate international volunteering in Boudnib. 

By putting my study abroad experiences on my résumé, talking about specific Peace Corps and study abroad skills this shows me as more prepared for the work force than just having a bachelor’s degree. I will have great “overcoming challenges” stories from these experiences.
 

Brief:

I studied Arabic and fell in love with Morocco, traveling around the country meeting new people and practicing the language. This was my first time out of the country, so it was a whole new experience. When I first went to Morocco, I fell in love with the country, the second time, with the people. Moroccans are the kindest and most generous people and they have inspired me. There are so many negative stereotypes about Northern Africa, and these people have disproved them all for me.
 
Then in the summer of 2012, I went abroad on a Research/Intern/Volunteer experience to India. There were four students studying Aerospace Engineering on the trip as well, but I researched women’s social issues in Indian literature. I became interested in the program through a friend, so I spoke with the faculty sponsor at A&M, got sponsored by the Indian university and then received three hours of research credit with the INTS department.
 
If students are homesick: just stay busy and don’t try to make your new country into a duplicate of the US. Make new friends and connections and remind yourself how lucky you are to have this opportunity. For myself for example, I love tennis, but I can’t play here in Boudnib, so I work out with Insanity instead to keep myself active. You make it work.Conversely, I will very much miss the Moroccan food and people when I go back to the US, instead of just missing the US in Morocco.
 
Sahara Service Organization (SSO): This organization gives an opportunity for any international visitors to Morocco to volunteer for two weeks. The program is set up as volunteer projects in the morning and cultural activities and exploration in the afternoon. The inaugural summer program last year had six participants, five students from the US and one non-student from Spain. “A taste of Morocco, a taste of Peace Corps.”