Tunisia: Emerging Identities in North Africa
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“The families really worked hard to make the students feel as integrated as possible. I was truly treated like a daughter.”
-- Krista Moore, Macalester College
Students in the Tunisia program participate in a seven-week homestay in Tunis with host families familiar with the issues explored in their coursework. Homestay communities range from the centuries-old La Marsa neighborhood, once a suburb of ancient Carthage, to neighborhoods such as El Menzah, a garden city designed in the 1950s. Where cultural considerations or family structure make the seven-week homestay impossible, comfortable and safe alternative lodging is secured in apartments or dorm rooms. Students undertaking ISPs in Tunis may extend their homestay/alternative accommodation by four weeks.
Other accommodations include hostels, research institutes, or small hotels.
The homestay experience in the words of an alumna...
"The homestay was an amazing experience and remains one of my best memories from Tunisia. My host family lived in La Marsa, a seaside suburb of Tunis. Because family plays such an important role in Tunisian culture, the homestay was a great way to immerse myself in the culture and get the most out of my experience. It gave me access to cultural activities and also provided me with support during my semester abroad.
"I arrived in Tunisia during the holy month of Ramadan, a month centered on family get-togethers full of delicious, traditional meals always followed by glasses of mint tea and pastries. Two other celebrations also centered on family and friends — EidAid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan and EidAid al-AdhaAIdha a few months later — gave me further cultural insight. These events were also fantastic opportunities to practice my burgeoning Arabic skills. The homestay enabled me to participate in these celebrations and made me feel welcome.
"The opportunities for food and celebration were clearly highpoints of the homestay experience, but living with my host family provided many other valuable benefits. My host family was incredibly welcoming, and wanted me to get the most out of my stay. I was truly treated like a daughter and integrated into daily activities, whether those included cooking, shopping, or visiting friends and family. I gained a view of everyday life, but the homestay also helped me adapt. I used my host family as a resource for discussing adjustment issues and culture shock, and talking with them helped me feel more comfortable. My host family gave me a feeling of constancy and made the transition to living in Tunisia not just easier, but also so much more enjoyable. By the time I boarded my airplane home, I no longer felt like a tourist in Tunisia; I had established friendships and connections that I value to this day."
Krista Moore, Macalester College
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Sidi Bou Said, on the outskirts of Tunis
Language Study: Arabic, French
View Student Evaluations for this program:
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