The college campus was as busy as a bee- hive. Exchange students from countries around the world were there. Some were buying T- shirts, pins and other memorabilia from the office of the exchange program. Some were making friends with other students from other countries.
Yet some others were playing games or practicing sports, starting from Frisbee games to parties of swimming in the campus swimming pool. This was in the next morning right after the arrival of the multi-national exchange students to New York while waiting to join their sites in different states of this gigantic country. In the afternoon, orientation sessions were organized. During these sessions, exchange students were told about various aspects of American life.
We were informed, for instance about American currency; we were shown what cents, dimes, quarters, and half dollars looked like and after that we were made acquainted with the different types of bills. We were also told that when buying an item we will be charged a bit more and that was not because we were foreigners but that was due to taxes people are supposed to pay to the government. Orientation sessions were very interesting and very informative, yet we were too excited about our new adventure in the New World to retain much of the information provided.
When It was evening, we were informed that all students from all countries were supposed to take part in a talent show that would take place late that evening after diner. Students from all countries were asked either to sing or perform a dance that was peculiar to their country. Any person acquainted with the Moroccan Baccalaureate of the late 70s can easily tell that all Moroccan exchange students were more bookish than musical, so unfortunately no performance was staged to represent our country.
Tunisian friends were more musically motivated so they invited me to join them. I said I didn’t know what to do nor did I know what was expected of me. The group leader gave me a Burnous and told me: “Just put it on and glide round the dancing girls” I said “well, nothing can be easier and more enjoyable!” so, I joined them and thus we together represented North-Africa. Our part of the show had its share of success and applause then we went to join the audience and enjoy the rest of the talent show. The idea was great and turned out to be very successful. More than twenty years later, I suggested the idea to a local non-governmental organization.
Now “The Students Talent Show” is a yearly event looked forward to by a number of high school students and teachers in the Agadir region in Morocco.
Articles written by Mohamed El Hassan Abou El Fadel in Morocco World News are taken from his Cultural Journals. The articles feature his reflections on an important part of his educational and cultural experiences in the US as an American Field Service exchange student, a Fulbright exchange teacher and a University of Delaware alumnus.
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