Kawtar Bouassel: Mediterranean Forestry and natural resource Management (MEDfOR)
I had done my bachelors from Valencia, in Spain, which is why I had already an idea about living abroad. In 2014, when I was granted the Erasmus Mundus scholarship, I chose Portugal and Italy in pursuit to discover more Mediterranean and European countries.
Spain, Portugal, and even the southern part of Italy have many elements in common with Morocco. However, they are different in many other aspects. Due to the proximity between them and my country, there are similarities in the gastronomic side (the way we make certain stews, traditional sweets like Polvorón, and even the famous Paella have an Arabic origin). We also share popular expressions and, above all, a common history. The Muslim Empire, especially in Spain and Portugal (Al-Andalus), left an immense cultural and architectural legacy here, and even the languages have some common phrases and words. Nonetheless, there were many new experiences for me, very different from my culture, for example, the other religions, people’s vision of life, and laws application.
The highlight of the Erasmus journey was definitely meeting people from other countries outside of Europe. Thanks to my peers from Bangladesh and Pakistan, I had the pleasure to taste authentic curry and biryani!
Thanks to my peers from Bangladesh and Pakistan, I had the pleasure to taste authentic curry and biryani!
Erasmus Mundus also paved my way to start a Ph.D.to at the Polytechnical University of Madrid. The city where I meet my soulmate, and started a happily ever after. Fast forward to today, I am a mother of a beautiful little girl, and her storyteller, where characters are from all around the world. Erasmus had a positive influence on my marital life. My vision for the future, flexibility, and adaptability to any kind of situation are virtues adored by my husband.
Surely, my three-year-old already understands and speaks three different languages: Arabic, Spanish, and English. I am broadening her horizon to be curious about other cultures, to travel in the future, and, who knows, maybe to have her own Erasmus experience.