We all dream of travelling over our summer breaks, but that age-old problem usually holds most of us up from jetting off – money! Law student Mohammed Hussain was lucky enough to be selected for a travel scholarship and visited Morocco this year to volunteer in a children’s centre. He tells his story…

Birmingham City University offers unique opportunities such as the International Travel Scholarships to students. This process involves making an application and attending an interview. The scholarship funds £1,000 per student to go abroad and volunteer, enhancing key skills needed for future employability. After the scholarship was granted to me, I started to fundraise via the reputable GoFundMe website. Having raised well over £300 it helped me make a difference to those who needed it most.

My time abroad was spent in the city of Marrakech, in Morocco. After a smooth flight, we arrived in a country where it averages 40 degrees Celsius! Our Riad (volunteer house) was in the centre of Marrakech in the small locality known as Bab Doukkala. The first two days were very hard as we were not used to the vast levels of heat and humidity. Nevertheless, after settling in quickly, we learned Moroccan customs and how to think and speak like a traditional Moroccan. This included the art of haggling, even with the taxi drivers!

The most memorable moment during my stay in Morocco would probably be the overnight stay at a traditional Berber house. This was one-and-a-half hours away from bustling and lively Marrakech in the much quieter and more refreshing Atlas Mountains. The sight was astonishing and breath-taking! Our host Khalid was very generous to welcome us into his beautiful home and teach us the ways of the Berber – the Berbers consider themselves to be the original Moroccans and do not speak French as their native tongue. My stay at the Berber house involved learning to make the traditional mint tea and chicken tagine. With no wi-fi in this house, we had the chance to bond with all other volunteers and build up a good relationship which had a positive impact during our projects.

The most memorable project would be the time I spent at the Learning Centre for Children with Disabilities. This centre is a free school for these students to have the same opportunities as anyone else. We spent that time offering support through play activities to engage with these students. I was asked what I hoped to achieve by attending this centre and my reply was “to make a difference”. Working abroad is something I have already considered for a future career within the field of law. My reason for this is because not only would I be doing something I love, but I’d also get the opportunity to integrate with new cultures.

There were many volunteers who I spent two weeks living with. We took part in many excursions together as a group such as the trip to Ouzoud Falls and camel trekking in Palm Groves. I will definitely be keeping in contacting with them to expand my social and professional network outside Birmingham.

Finally, I would just like to say that going to a different country is a life experience and every student should consider volunteering abroad in the summer!

Find out more about opportunities for travel scholarships at Birmingham City University.

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