Three weeks ago, I quit my job, moved out of my parents’ house and boarded a plane to Morocco.
Why? I always wanted to live abroad. I thought of Morocco because I wanted to improve my Arabic, a language I had studied years ago but had since dropped. I was also eager to live in a different culture.
However, I also had my reservations. As an American woman who was well aware (thanks to western media) of the least satisfactory qualities of Arab countries, I was hesitant to follow my heart. Further, as a Jewish woman, I was terrified. What if I am harassed on the street? What if I am targeted for being Jewish?
These fears would eventually be quelled once I set foot in the country for the first time. Strangely enough, I would never have ended up teaching in Oujda, a small city near the border with Algeria, had it not been for my Miami consulting job.
Right around the time I was considering a career change and move abroad, our CEO scheduled a company retreat in Italy.
While discussing plane tickets with my boss, a thought popped into my head: Italy is not far from Morocco…why not take a few days off after the retreat to explore?
Not everyone has the luxury to visit their prospective country before moving there. However, if you can, I would highly recommend it. Those few days were instrumental to me moving to Morocco and ending up in Oujda.
During my brief visit, I decided that Morocco was definitely where I wanted to live. Yet, I was unmoved by the big cities of Rabat and Casablanca, as they felt too much like Europe. One of my contacts suggested that I check out the American Language Centers in some of the smaller cities.
One thing led to another, and I ended up moving to Morocco just three weeks from my initial visit! I did this so that I would have time to check out the American Language Centers in multiple cities in time to make my decision and secure a teaching position before the hiring season was over.
Moving to Morocco in 3 weeks (with no job offer) was a leap of faith. Today, on the eve of my first day as a teacher at the American Language Center in Oujda, I am so glad I followed my heart!