XOTV WEEKLY: Morocco to France, moving during a pandemic
I am Yousfi Maryam, an awkward 21 years old Moroccan who has recently moved to another continent.
Moving to France is not something uncommon for Moroccans like me to do, especially for people who want to pursue their studies in a country with a better educational system. There are many programs with switching systems, which is why there are companies whose sole goal is to help you with all the administrative steps that range from serving as an intermediary between applicants and schools like “Campus France Maroc,” to helping you get your visa like “TLSContact Maroc.”
After I completed my licentiate diploma, I still wanted to aim for a masters’ degree in management. I applied to a few universities in Morocco but decided to take the chance and apply to French universities as well, and thus began my adventure.
I started the procedure by taking a French language proficiency test for non-native speakers and here I am, a few months and a few hardships later in Metz- France, studying in the school I have always dreamt of adhering to. The procedure was not easy at all but I believe that the choices I made turned out to be worth the ephemeral struggles I had to endure.
When the airplane landed in Paris Orly airport on October 23rd, 2020, I could hear my heart beating in my ears. I was so nervous that when the border control officer asked me if I spoke French -in French- that I said no before realizing my mistake and abruptly correcting myself.
I put myself in many similar awkward situations during the first few days but everyone was understanding and willing to help or correct me when I needed it. I satisfied my curiosity as much as I safely could for about a week since we didn’t have any classes.
Unfortunately, we are still struggling with a global pandemic and on October 30th, 2020, a second lockdown was issued in France. I had just joined my class through online classes which meant I hadn't gotten the chance to interact with my classmates as much as I would have in an actual classroom. As an introvert, I had difficulty befriending people from my student housing as well, I stayed in my shell for quite a while but when one of my teachers divided us into groups for a project, I realized that the lockdown is only somewhat responsible for my loneliness. The real culprit was my inability to get out of my comfort zone. So I started actively making an effort and interacting with people around me; a greeting here and there and a little mixing and mingling with a few of my classmates through social media did the trick and got me a small but growing circle of friends and acquaintances.
A few days ago, we had an exam that took place in our university and although we had to keep our distance from one another and wear a mask the whole time, seeing the group I work with for our projects in person and meeting the people I talked to on social media in real life was a very heartwarming event. Everyone was nice, some people introduced themselves to me although we had never spoken before, Jilian, my groupmate, also made sure to show me around and tell me about some of our classmates she knew I would relate to. Our classroom is relatively small since it only consists of 28 students, but it was very diverse; we had students from France, Luxembourg, Turkey, New Caledonia, and Morocco but everyone interacted as though we had grown up together in the same neighborhood. It was a happy, genuine, and humbling experience to say the least.
Although I have just come here, I know my story has just begun and I know that this place, this city, and these people have much more to offer than the little things I have experienced thus far. I look forward to seeing what this place will make of me and how it will help me grow from now onwards. I believe that my coming here was the right decision to make and I highly encourage anyone who is currently thinking about moving to go ahead and move. As long as you are not compromising your health and staying safe, everything you experience will help you build the person you become tomorrow, so make sure you seize all the opportunities that come your way.
About the Author:
Yousfi Maryam is currently studying for a masters' degree in quality management in France and her hobbies include journalling, drawing and story telling. Find Maryam's XOTV channel here.