As the NSO begins recruiting candidates for next year’s Fulbright Award cycle, we will be highlighting thefive VCU students currently studying and working across the globe with the support of their Fulbright grant. These will feature a sample “Day in the Life”, to celebrate the endless opportunities a Fulbright grant can provide!
This week, we’re showcasing Lindsey FitzGerald, from Williamsburg, Va., who received her bachelor’s of arts degree in English from VCU in 2014. Lindsey is presently teaching English to secondary school students in Morocco as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant.
How I spend my mornings: I’ve never been a morning person – and Morocco has not changed that! I spend the first part of my day in my apartment. I make a pot of coffee and sit on my balcony, either doing class prep or language study. After a while I get dressed and get on with my day.
How I spend my afternoons: My teaching schedule varies from day to day but this past semester I taught three days a week: two sections of US Culture and Society and two sections of Paragraph Writing. I also ran an American Culture club for students outside of class time.
Something I put a lot of time in, specifically in the afternoon, is language study. I meet with a Darija (Moroccan Arabic) tutor twice a week, a French tutor once a week and attend French classes twice a week through L’institut Francais.
In the afternoons I do a lot of grading (this past semester I had over 200 students) and answer student emails. I meet with friends for coffee or go out to eat by my house.
How I spend my evenings: I normally go out to dinner with friends or make myself a simple meal. I might email or Skype with friends and family back home or go out – walk through Centreville, study at a café, there are also a few places in the area with amazing live music.
What I do in my free time: In my free time I spend time with friends, explore the city, study French and Darija. I go to the beach or shop in the medina. To unwind I read, write and play guitar. If I have a few days, I love traveling throughout the country. That’s a great thing when people come to visit -another reason to break the daily routine and explore! My sister just came for three weeks and we spent time in Fes, Meknes, Tangier, and Marrakech. It’s such a beautiful and culturally rich country; it’s always great to be reminded of it.
There are normally some social obligations through the Fulbright as well; especially being in Rabat, there’s always something going on. Additionally, I’ve gotten to spend time in Italy, Spain and Jordan while renewing my visa.
What are my go-to meals? I almost always have “Moroccan Salad” on hand, which is just chopped up tomatoes, cucumbers and onions with lemon juice and olive oil. Tajines are at least a weekly part of my diet – warmed, spiced meats and vegetables.
Friday couscous is always a given though. During my Fulbright orientation I stayed with a host family in the medina. They were and are incredibly good to me. I spend almost every Friday with them for the traditional family couscous and inevitable post-couscous nap.
What am I seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting every day? I see children filing into the French school on my street, people meeting on the street with kisses – one on the left, two on the right, piles and piles of beautiful colored spices, a hundred thousand cats lolling in the sun, men at cafes reading the newspaper. I hear the call to prayer five times a day. I hear English, French, Darija and Fusha spoken. I smell the ocean, chwarma being made on the street, and fresh bread baking. I taste mint tea at least once a day – sometimes more: its sugary freshness, always paired with sweets and pastries, a sign of hospitality. I taste fresh fruit from street vendors and – if I’m lucky – my favorite soup, Harira.