The Move to Ifrane – انتقال الى إفران

After finishing one more session of language tutoring in Fez, I finally moved to Ifrane at the beginning of this month to start the bulk of my research. I live on my own in an apartment about a 30 minute walk from Al Akhawayn University (AUI) in a large, family-filled building complex.

The furnished apartment is a steal and fairly big: a main living room with TV and many, many free channels thanks to the satellite dish, a kitchen with lots of counter space but no oven, a second salon with a balcony that overlooks the building’s central courtyard and a bedroom with a balcony that looks into the neighbor’s house. I cleaned it from top to bottom when I moved in, and am now quite pleased with it, with the exception of one glaring detail: No heating. I do, though, have a small and not-very-efficient attachement to a gas bottle, and a small electric space heater. Lately I’ve been wearing a lot of layers and carry around hot water bottles. Pictures to come.

AUI takes its security very, very seriously and before I was in possesion of my visiting researcher’s card, I would get stopped daily at the front gate, asked what my business was, and only after confirming my statements with a phone call to the offices was I allowed on campus. Despite the fact that I turned in the required paperwork months ago, it still took about two weeks of daily office visits to get this card. Now, though, I breeze through the front gates and have full access to the English language library, beautiful gym and full service laundry. (Dryers? What opulence!) Of course, luxury like this comes at a price, but oh, the centrally heated reading rooms are worth it.

I have a desk and computer at the Center for IT Innovation on campus and the professor that headed the project I am interested in is nearly always available for questions. I marvel at the amount of freedom I have now, not constrained by class times, to read up on a number of topics important to the foundation of my research project, like different learning theories and the theoretical frameworks under which they fall and the various methodologies and methods I can adopt to accomplish my research goal. I also have time to get in some daily Arabic practice and hopefully soon I’ll get permission to spend time in Al Arz Middle School here in Ifrane, much like I did at Kacem Amine in Fez.

Despite the fact that I now live in Ifrane, I still am able to travel back to Fez easily and frequently. I have a legitimate reason to return to Fez too: I’ve started interviewing teachers and having guided conversations with students at Kacem Amine and I’d like to keep that ball rolling. Also, though, I miss my close-knit group of friends, the housemates that felt like family members, and a couple Fessis that were becoming real friends.

Ronch, Louisa and Laura: Yuen Lui style

Honestly, though, this transition has been fairly easy and I’ve been quite productive so far. I think I’ll really like Ifrane, once the snow stops. Beautiful, sure. Miserable, absolutely.

Snow in March

About Laura McAdams

Laura McAdams is a Master’s student at University of Pennsylvania studying International Educational Development. Her experience in the MENA region includes 15 months as a Fulbright student researcher to Fez and Ifrane, Morocco in 2010 and 2011. Her project was interested in understanding the disconnect between the policies of technology usage in education and the reality of how these policies unfold in the classroom. Summer 2012 she returned to the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco to work with a women’s weaving cooperative. She is excited to learn more about other countries in the MENA region and issues involving education policy and reform, technology usage in curriculums and gender equality in education. One of Laura’s lifelong goals is to one day be able to sit down and leisurely read a newspaper in Arabic.
This entry was posted in Fulbright Student Research in Morocco, 2010-2011, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Move to Ifrane – انتقال الى إفران

  1. Amy McAdams says:

    I enjoyed the Yuen Lui pic. You’re a pro!

  2. Suzanne McAdams says:

    Love reading your blog Laura and see what you are up to. What a wonderful experience for you. You will have incredible memories!

  3. Glad to hear the move went well Laurs! Let me know how I can best get a hold of you. We have narrowed down the dates and have planned a good portion of the trip. We will be one week in Spain and one week in Morocco. The Morocco part is still for the most part unplanned since I wanted to talk to you before finalizing anything. Anyways, get back to me by email or facebook etc. etc. Hope you’re well! Talk to you soon! P.S. We will be in Morocco May 8th to May 14! (dates are flexible, but I’ve settled on this for now).

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