Alumni Spotlight: Jeanette Lam

By Lexi Reich

Unsure of which study abroad program to choose, Jeanette Lam, 21, left the decision to a coin toss. Through that chance and the SIT journalism program in Morocco, she found herself in Paris last summer working as a cinematographer and editing assistant on a feature documentary.

“France’s Children,” directed by Aida Alami, advisor to the SIT program, follows the story of an immigration activist in France, and other activists who, fueled by the desire to empower their community, reject victimhood.

“This experience was one of the most unique opportunities I’ve ever had,” Lam said.

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A Young Woman’s Mission to Integrate Creativity into Schools

By Zoe Buchli

Marya Joudani, 24, is enthusiastic about integrating art into education This stems mainly from her time at Connect Institute, where she was a student for two years and currently works as a coordinator.

“It’s only when I joined Connect Institute that I started to notice the differences between the way school is today and the way it should be,” she said.  

Nestled in a growing housing development in Agadir, a beach town in southern Morocco, Connect is housed in a large, modern building. The school provides “alternative higher education” and admits students based on their abilities, not their degrees or grades so far.

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Life on borrowed land

SBA ROUADI, MOROCCO – “My hair used to be beautiful,” Fatima Fathane laments, her wrinkled hands stroking long, wispy strawberry red locks tinged with grey as she sits on the sdader, Moroccan couch, of the one-bedroom concrete home. It’s just one more part of her life that is out of her control, one more thing taken away by years of stress and labor.

The house does not belong to Fathane, though it was built with her own money. That’s because, under Moroccan law, a house is the property of the husband.

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A Water Problem



SBAA ROUADI, Morocco– Karime Zaraoui, 30, stands barefoot in a stream of water, his feet sinking into the moist earth that his father purchased from French colonizers, the land that will one day be his own. Karime worries about one thing; water.

“It’s not a drought, but the land suffers from scarcity of water,” Zaraoui said. He predicts within 15 years, a lack of water will make it hard to cultivate the land, which grows primarily cilantro and olives.

The Zaraoui family’s property lies in what is called Sbaa Rouadi, a small cluster of villages near Fez.

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Zineb Belmkaddem – Connecting the Battles for Human Rights


RABAT, Morocco – Zineb Belmkaddem, 29, cynically credits the government for her newest job as an English teacher at Euromediterranean University of Fez, a recently established university in Morocco.

“I know the government has something to do with this job,” she said. “They want me off the street. I mean, off everything. My boss told me.”

Due to her outspoken criticism of the local regime, Belmkaddem says the government is trying to restrain her by keeping her busy at the university. In a country where freedom of expression is limited, this Muslim feminist is one of the last prominent human rights activists left in Morocco.

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