What to do with Morocco?

By: Tori

Read all about Tori’s experience in Morocco

Now what? I’ve lived independently abroad, taken a deep-dive into an ocean of unfamiliar culture, and gone through a few challenges that have shaped my world-view. So, now what? What can I do to highlight this experience? HOW do I highlight this experience?

It may seem like an impossible feat to narrow your study abroad experience down into a tangible, easy to comprehend package, but it actually isn’t that hard!

The first step is the hardest – and takes the most time, but is necessary in order to process your thoughts, feelings, etc.

You need to REFLECT on your experience.

Some questions that may be useful to help you reflect are:

  • What are the top three lessons you learned while abroad?
  • What surprised you most while abroad?
  • What was your favorite memory?
  • What was something that was hard, different, or challenging?

Once you have reflected on your overall experience, consider how study abroad grew your skills, leadership, and career-related attributes.

Consider specific examples from your time abroad in which you expanded upon these skills:

  • Assertiveness, adaptability, critical thinking skills, flexibility, independence or self-reliance, patience, open-mindedness, problem-solving, self-confidence, initiative, perseverance, and time management

Once you’ve done this, it’s easy to narrow down your experience by putting it on your resume. This is a great way to highlight your abroad experience in a quick, accessible way. For example, you can list the institution where you studied and a few courses or projects you worked on underneath your education section:

Study Abroad in Resume Education Section Example

The final step is to connect the dots by directly applying your study abroad experience to your potential career opportunities during an interview.

Q: What experience do you have working with people from backgrounds different than your own, and how do you think those experiences relate to the workplace?

Q: Can you tell me about a time you took a risk and it paid off?

These are two common questions individuals are asked during an interview that can relate to your study abroad experience. Make sure you find a way to talk about your study abroad and highlight it for others to see. Not only does this help you stand out as an applicant but it also helps others understand people and places who are different.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Tori’s other posts

Meet Me in Morocco: Study Abroad Part 3

By: Tori

Editor’s note: You can check out the rest of Tori’s Morocco experience in previous posts.

The best part of my study abroad experience was the freedom to do something new and exciting every single day. Conducting research abroad did not require a set schedule, I was able to determine when and where I was going to be, which allowed me to have some pretty amazing adventures. This is a list of the top five things to do in Morocco. Now, I may be a bit biased, but I know there are definitely more than five “top” things to do in Morocco. But I hope this gives you a little insight into what Morocco is like!

Top Five Things to Do in Morocco!

Ride a camel in the Saharan Desert
Take a journey to Merzouga, which is right near the Algerian border and ride off into the desert at sunset for a “24-hour desert experience”. Watch the stars from atop the sand dunes, and listen to traditional Berber music while you feast on tajine and sip on mint tea. In the morning, get up early to watch the sunrise and ride the camels back to civilization. Although it’s a trek, it is well worth it!

People riding camels in Sahara Desert

Riding camels in the Sahara Desert.

2 young women sitting in the sand at the Sahara Desert

Tori & friend in the Sahara Desert

Essaouira/ Chefchaouen
Two of my favorite cities. If you are looking for a good mix of tourism and culture, these are the cities meant for you!

Essaouira is an artistic coastal city with many museums, small streets, and very difficult rug shop owners who will make you work to get your rug for the price you want. The fresh fish here is delicious and the city is very peaceful compared to other cities in Morocco.

Essaouriora ally

Essaouiora

Chefchaouen is a northern city, near the tip of Morocco. This city has a lot of Spanish influence as Spain in only 8 miles from the coast of Morocco! Chefchaouen is a famous hill-side city, hidden in the Rif mountains and painted completely blue. While in Chefchaouen you can visit Cascades d’Akchour, an area with many hiking trails that will take you back to fresh springs and waterfalls (if the season is right). Taking a dip here on a hot day is the most refreshing feeling.

City buildings overview - ChefChaouen Morocco

ChefChaouen

DCIM101GOPRO

Tori & friends at Akchour

Jemaa el-Fnaa
Jemaa el-Fnaa is the famous square in Marrakech. Marrakech is a Moroccan city known for its craziness. Within seconds of being in the square, motorbikes will speed past you, monkeys will be doing backflips, and people will be throwing snakes around your neck and saying “10 Dirham.” Although it sounds stressful and overwhelming, Marrakech shows you the “wild side” or Morocco. The square comes to life at night after the sun goes down and people retreat from their homes to enjoy each other’s company. It is safe to say Marrakech is entertainment central of Morocco.

Tour the Medina in Fez
Fez is the old city and is the second largest city in all of Morocco. Touring the Fez medina was my favorite “touristy” activity. We visited the weavery, tannery, and learned all about the history of the city. Fez is home to the oldest university in the world, amazing street food, and families who have lived within the walls of the medina for centuries. I could go on and on about this beautiful city, but I think pictures will do it more justice.

Man standing at weaving machine

Weavery in Fez

people working at a tannery

Tannery in Fez

Go Surfing/ Visit the Beaches
Morocco is a coastal country so you may as well take advantage of the water! Take a surfing lesson and get out of your comfort zone – try to stay up for more than 5 seconds (it’s a lot harder than it looks!). The beaches of Legzira are the perfect weekend getaway. With beautiful rocks and arches lining the shore, you can explore all day long!

Young woman walking on beach

Tori walking on the beach at Legzira

3 young women jumping at the beach

Tori & friends on the beach at Legzira

No matter what you choose to do in Morocco, I am sure you will find it to be exciting, challenging, and full of memories to last a lifetime! Throughout my travels, it made a big difference to stay in places with great views! Typically, accommodations in Morocco are much cheaper than in the US, so the “extra bucks” are worth it. If you ever find yourself in Spain over the years, hop over to Morocco. It’s a cheap flight and is well worth the trip! Hope you enjoyed learning all about Morocco!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Tori’s other posts

Photo source: Tori

Meet Me in Morocco: Study Abroad Part 2

By: Tori

This summer I embarked on a journey to conduct research abroad in Morocco! (You can read about Tori’s pre-trip excitement.) It was an amazing experience and I find myself missing bits and pieces of this mystical place every day. While my time two months abroad are hard to compress, I hope this list of the top five things I will miss about Morocco gives you a glimpse into the different culture this North African country has to offer.

Large group photo of students

Large group photo of students.

Our dear friends.
We arrived in Morocco with no pre-made plans on how we were going to get connected with fellow students. It was simply fate when we met with a student group called “Be Positive”, who are focused on learning about and connecting with other cultures. These people became our companions quickly and are who I spent the majority of the two months abroad with. This was, in my opinion, the best part of the trip. They traveled with us, took us to all the cool places in Agadir (where I lived in Morocco), and even invited us into their homes. We grew close with their family as we spent many Iftar meals with them. Iftar is the meal in which Muslims break fast during the month of Ramadan. Another major bonus was they lived right in our neighborhood! It was so easy to hangout and they taught us how to navigate the bus system (thankfully, otherwise we would have done WAY more walking than necessary).

Celebrating 4th of July with Moroccan friends

Celebrating 4th of July with Moroccan friends

Morocco friends of 4th of July

Morocco friends of 4th of July

The exchange rate.
All I can say is that I miss how easy Morocco was on my bank account. Although the flight over was fairly spendy, the exchange rate for Morocco is AMAZING. Moroccans use dirhams as their currency and 1 dirham is equivalent to $0.10. Each of my meals only cost roughly $2-$3. And a train ride clear across the country was only $15. It’s safe to say I’m going to miss those dirhams.

Msemen, Mint Tea, and Fresh OJ
These were by FAR my favorite treats in Morocco. Msemen is a Moroccan crepe- it’s a lot like lefse but a little thicker. It is a popular item at breakfast as it is served with jam, honey, and amlou – which is a lot like almond butter but mixed with argan oil. Along with Msemen, they also serve mint tea and fresh OJ. Mint tea is nicknamed “Moroccan whiskey” because they serve it in teeny-tiny glasses all day long. The fresh OJ always quenched my thirst – I had never had such delicious juice before!

Msemen & OJ

Msemen & OJ

Pouring Mint Tea

Pouring Mint Tea

The present-day mindset
Americans tend to always be on the go; multi-tasking, getting as much done ahead of time as possible, etc. It is the total opposite in Morocco. As a developing country, they tend to worry simply about what is in front of them and have comfort in knowing they cannot control the future. They truly carry the “Don’t worry, Be happy” mindset throughout their everyday life. While this was hard to adjust to at first, I miss this part of their culture – especially now during midterm season.

Souk Shopping
In Morocco, there aren’t many grocery stores. Instead, they shop in areas called souks. Souks are within the medina walls and have tight walkways filled with a variety of items to buy. On your left there can be fruits and vegetables, chicken, dates, etc. and on your right, someone can be selling sandals, pants, rugs, and paintings. You can buy EVERYTHING in the souk, which is nice and convenient. Another interesting thing about the souk is the haggling. In Morocco, you are allowed to bargain on a price with the shopkeeper. At first, this was nerve-racking. I didn’t know the language or understand what a good price was, but after a short while I was hooked (more like addicted) on haggling with those in the souk. I still go to Target today and have the desire to bargain for a better price on a scarf. Sometimes the shopkeepers will even let you have a better deal “just because you are beautiful”, haha!

Souk - Moroccan market

Souk

Souk - Moroccan market

Souk

Stay tuned for the next blog on Top Five Things to Do in Morocco!!

Read Tori’s other posts

Photo source: Tori

How to Say NO.

By: Tori

I tend to say yes to a lot of things.

“Tori will you…?”
“Tori can you….?”
“Tori want to come…?”

And even when I know I should be saying no, I find myself saying yes. This happens every day, at school, at work, and even at home.

Throughout these past 3 years of independence and self-reliance, I’ve learned I don’t know my “limits” until it’s too late to say “no” and then I’m overwhelmed with the list of things I said “yes” to.

With the ‘end of semester stress’ suffocating many of us, I figured it would be useful to learn how to say no and understand the reasons behind why it is SO hard to do this sometimes.

Below are helpful tools you can use to say no.

Acknowledge that you can’t do everything.

  • This is a hard statement to take in, but it is true. You cannot do everything, I cannot do everything, No one can do everything. This means that sometimes you HAVE to say no. Understanding the limits of what you can and cannot do is important.
  • It is even more important to know when to say no because you don’t have time to always say yes. Time management is everything.

Understand you aren’t being selfish

  • Know you are not being selfish when you say no, you are allowed to say no to certain requests and situations if it is better for you.

Know you can’t please everyone

  • We are people pleasers at our core; we desire for everyone we meet to like us, but this is unrealistic.
  • We cannot do things because we want others to like us, or because we want the reputation of “being the best” coworker, student, daughter/son/child, or friend.
  • Saying yes just to gain recognition by others is putting value in something that will not satisfy and your work will not live up to your expectations.

Be direct; Say “No, I can’t” or “No, I don’t want to”

  • Remember that it is better to say no now than be resentful later.
  • Don’t say “I’ll think about it” if you don’t want to do it. This will just prolong the situation and make you feel even more stressed.

Give a brief explanation
You don’t have to lie or make up excuses to say no, just simply be honest. If you have a reason for not wanting or being able to do something, give them a brief explanation. Below are a few examples:

  • “I don’t think I can take on another project, as I am already working on…..”
  • “I can’t go out to eat because I need to save money.”
  • “I can’t go to the party because I need a night to relax by myself.”

Suggest alternatives
When it comes to wanting to say yes, but not being able to, suggest an alternative plan or action. This may look something like:

  • “I can’t go to the party because I need a night to relax. If you want, you can come watch movies with me.”
  • I don’t think I can take another project, but maybe Sarah would be good for this one, she has a lot of interest in this area.”

I hope this helps you reflect and have confidence in saying no the next time you feel yes at the tip of your tongue. As life gets busier, it is necessary to know your own limits!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Tori’s other posts

Meet Me in Morocco: Study Abroad Part 1

By: Tori

Bonjour! مرحبا! Hola!…

Hello! And welcome to my study abroad journey. This summer I am headed to the North African country, Morocco (whoo hoo)!

Tori Morocco

Through the UMN program SPAN (Student Projects For Amity Among Nations), I have the opportunity to spend 8 weeks traveling, researching, and immersing myself in the culture of Morocco. Approximately 30 UMD students will be joining me on this journey and taking on a project equal to an Honors thesis. It will be no easy task, in fact, it is quite stressful, but I am stoked to see where these next four months take me.

You may be asking; HOW did I choose this program? And WHY study abroad? Well, let me tell you!

Tori Quote

Coming into college I knew I wanted to take full advantage of what UMD has to offer, including their numerous opportunities to study abroad. However, as I became more involved on campus I realized the deep desire that I had to experience something completely different. I wanted to be introduced to new perspectives.

Morocco is not your typical study abroad destination, which is the sole reason when I found out about the program I said, “Heck yes, sign me up!”. It is opposite of the typical comfort zone I find myself in. Instead of going to an English-speaking, mountain encompassing country – I’m heading to the desert, where my Norwegian skin may fry and my lack of French and Arabic skills will be exposed. Morocco is a country of major diversity and my entire time abroad I will be a part of the minority for the first time in my life.

Meet in Morocco

There is a difference between simply spending time abroad and completely immersing yourself in another culture. Going abroad helps students gain awareness of other cultures and learn to accept people for who they are. Studying abroad even pertains to students future careers. As a young person entering the business world, I have the advantage to use my experiences to affect those around me. And as a Human Resources major, I will be connecting business and people my entire life. There is no better way to be exposed to diversity and become more self-aware than to take a leap of faith and go abroad.

To say I am excited to embark on this journey would be an understatement. I am ecstatic to come back to campus and share what I have learned with my peers, advisors, co-workers, professors, and faculty. Would you like to hear how Morocco changes me and “Meet in Morocco”?

Read Tori’s other posts

Photo sources: Tori; Unsplash | Florian Bernhardt; Unsplash | Sergey Pesterev

Social Media Squad at the UMN Job Fair

By: Tori

UMN Job Fair Logo_2017

We’re back from running social media at the U of M Job Fair! And what a successful event it was!

My co-peer educator, David, and I headed down to the Minneapolis Convention Center on Friday, February 24th to assist with showing students what the largest job fair in all of Minnesota was truly like. Check out the videos we posted on Facebook.

David & Tori UMJF

Lounge Tweet

Even though job fair season may be over, we have some great tidbits of advice from students and employers at the UMN Job Fair to share with students back on our home campus of UMD (Go Bulldogs!)

In Preparation: 

Tori & UMD Student UMJF

A UMD Mechanical Engineering student (above) shared advice on how to professionally prepare for the fair by: “Reviewing your resume and purchasing a portfolio. You’ll always win points with those two things!”

“Research the employers going to the fair by using the job fair app. That way you will know who employers are AND where they are located at the fair. You won’t have to look around and be distracted trying to find employers.”- Kimberly, Peer Educator at UMD Career and Internship Services (2nd from left in photo below).

Kimberly & Friends UMJF

At the Fair: 

“Take a look at how long the lines are, talk to other employers first to practice, then go to your top choices and dream jobs.”- PJay, Front Desk Student Assistant at the UMD Career and Internship Services.

Sadie Instagram

Sadie (above), a Front Desk Student Assistant in our office gave us her favorite tip while at the fair: “Collect business cards from every employer you talk to & follow-up.”

“Do a lap, know where things are. Be yourself! Dive in! Just go for it!”- UMN Student

Employers also offered advice to students at the Job Fair:

UMJF Employer Collage

“Research companies and apply for open positions before the fair, and then come say hello!”

Employer Resume Advice: “Keep it looking clean and easy to read by utilizing bullet points, bolded letters, customized headers, and formatting that flows.”

When approaching employers, “Confidence is key to standing out.”

“Don’t be shy, ask critical questions, be curious!” and remember, “It’s your time to interview us (employers) too!”

I hope this advice is helpful to you as you begin preparing for your next job fair, interview, or interaction with an employer! It’s okay to be nervous and not know what to expect, but use the resource you have to take the next steps.

Check out these social media sites for more information and tips from the UMN Job Fair:

Read Tori’s other posts

Navigating Human Resources: Part 2

By: Tori (an HR major!)

“Human Resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business.”

If you read my previous blog post, you are well aware that human resources is what brings business and people together. But how do you know if this is a good career for you?

Back in the day (just a mere two years ago), I came into the Career & Internship Services office to take the Strong Interest Inventory assessment, which helps determine what occupations may be best for you based off of your interests. Human Resource Management (HRM) was in my top ten and it was during this time I began taking the possibility of majoring in Human Resource Management seriously. Fast forward to a few months ago, when I took the StrengthsQuest assessment to figure out what qualities I naturally excel in and can use to market myself. This is when I began seeing HRM in who I was and who I wanted to be.

navigating-hr

Below are my top 5 strengths and how they relate to Human Resources:

My top strength is woo. This comes from my love of meeting new people and winning them over. I enjoy breaking the ice and making a connection with other people. While this has always been something that came naturally to me, I didn’t realize how much woo plays into the role of recruiter. One of my career goals after graduation is to become a company recruiter through which I can connect with college students, win them over for my company, and help them reach their goals.

My second strength is positivity. Those with positivity tend to have an enthusiasm that is contagious; they are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do. My other area of interest in HR is training and development. If I want to get people on board with spending days, weeks, or months learning new skills and making new goals, I need to have a positive attitude and make it a fun experience for everyone.

My third strength is empathy, meaning I can sense the feelings of other people by imagining myself in their situation. Empathy is an important strength to have if you are going to be working with a diverse group of people. Through empathy, I can connect, relate, and understand others’ situations as their manager. Being able to put myself in the starting place of another person and work with them toward the next step is a valuable tool to have.

My fourth strength is includer. Someone who is an includer shows awareness of those who may feel left out and makes an effort to include them and accept them. Part of human resources is solidifying culture within a company. What do employees want? What makes them feel valued? How can we accomplish our goals and still provide a friendly, encouraging work environment? My strength of includer helps me value and view company culture on a different level than most and provides opportunities for me as a human resource manager.

My fifth strength is developer. As a developer, I recognize and cultivate the potential in others, and as a manager, I lead and navigate a group of people. Putting others in positions that empower them and make the business run smoothly is part of not only a manager’s job but also human resources. This strength helps me lead others into roles and opportunities they desire.

Come into the office and learn your strengths! Like me, they may help you visualize your future career and find what areas you can excel in!

Read more about STRENGTHS

Read Tori’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Adam Przewoski