Casablanca- Dar America is home of the U.S Consulate General’s Public Affairs Section and the American Library , but it has also become home to English language lovers and admirers of American cultural heritage in the city of Casablanca.
The cultural center offers immense opportunities for students, and English language speakers, to improve their language skills. Unlike American Language Centers, Dar America does not offer language classes. It offers something deeper though. It immerses its members in the heart of American society and culture by means of English language.
Equipped with a comprehensive collection of 2000 books, according to the US embassy, the library has become a must-see place for Moroccan students and researchers alike. Books cover a wide range of topics such as American history, geography, literature, politics, women studies, culture, English teaching, art and current issues.
According to the embassy’s official web page, Dar America has access to a tremendous amount of electronic information on U.S. topics, including legislative developments, foreign and domestic policy, and social, economic and political issues. In a nutshell, the library is an incredible source of information for whatever one may want to know about Uncle Sam’s land.
What is more, Dar America is a place of nonstop activities on monthly basis. Last October, the library chose economic growth and development as the central theme of its cultural program. The activities included film and documentary screening, forum discussions and a free concert, open to the public, with the Boston Boys band.
Another interesting activity is that of the reading club. Members would discuss and exchange their opinions and interpretations upon reading a particular short story or article. The club, along with other scheduled activities, might be regarded as a golden opportunity to practice a language that lacks an environmental support.
In an interview with Agora-presse on the sidelines of International Casablanca Book Fair in 2012, Andrea Apell, director of Dar America invited fans of English language to visit the library, noting that Moroccans have shown growing interest towards the language and educational opportunities in the US.
“We offer many opportunities for anyone who wants to improve his or her language,” she said.
My experience with Dar America
During four years of study at the university, I have always regarded Dar America as my window to the New World. Upon my entrance to the library, I find myself taken to America via pictures, books, and maps of the country.
I had the opportunity to meet many American writers, diplomats and singers during forum discussions. I exchanged ideas with dozens of Americans, coming from different backgrounds and ethnicities. They reflected, I shall say, the diversity of the American people. They were also an embodiment of American dream that has always been a source of inspiration for many, including myself.
Dar America is located at the heart of Casablanca, but as I was an active member of the library I felt to have been on American soil, spiritually, and , to one’s own astonishment, physically. Needless to say, I could find almost everything I needed for my assignments and readings either through the available books or online databases, as the center offers free internet access.
More still, Dar America showed an impressive support for a humanitarian campaign, of which I was a coordinator. In April 2012, the campaign reached 113 families in the rural areas of Khenifra, central Morocco, amidst the harsh cold that hit the region.
I invited members of various associations, as well as students to Dar America, where we agreed on our action plan .The library managed to collect significant quantity of clothing. Thanks to Dar America, along with other associations and institutions, “Caravan of Hope” was a successful story of volunteerism in Morocco. On a YouTube video via which I tried to document my personal experience, I wrote, “When I saw the smile on the face of children I proudly remembered, my dear friends, your great support.” Dar America was certainly one of the friends I alluded to.
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