Zoe Brown

Denville, NJ | Sociology, Computer Science | 2019

Originally from Denville, New Jersey, Zoe is a sophomore studying Sociology and Computer Science. She is also studying Arabic and hopes to further develop her knowledge of the language while she lives with a host family in Rabat, Morocco this summer. While living in Rabat, Zoe will partner with a local NGO to aid in women’s rights initiatives in the region alongside a small cohort of other Vanderbilt students. Once she has returned, Zoe hopes to utilize her experience in foreign aid to support service projects in the Nashville community.

To read more about Zoe’s experiences in Morocco, please visit her page on the Morocco 2017 Cohort blog.

Blog Post One:

Rabat, Morocco smells. It stinks like sweat, sewage, and hot fish. There is an intangible pungency that I cannot get over and I am consistently whining about it. I hate the smell with every fiber of my being.  It’s inescapable. Yet, for every time I complain about a horrible stench there is an equally delicious one waiting to surprise me- the scent of warm bread in souk stalls, or freshly squeezed orange juice, or even the recently cleaned bathroom in the McDonald’s we indulged in last night.  I’ll inhale these wonderful odors like I’ll never get the chance to smell again. And then all of the sudden, it smells like feet again. But that’s okay, because that seems to be the theme of this journey so far. For everything there is to complain about, there is something even more memorable to marvel at.


The rest of my new life here is fascinating. The medina, the Kasbah, and the beach are all so lovely to look at, and so different than anything I’ve seen before (even though they smell). I love the way my host family is constantly welcoming people into their home, everyday someone is in our house who I’ve never seen before, and how incredibly friendly they have been to us. I love the food!! It’s so good!! And I love how it’s always a game of charades to communicate with my family (I love it right now while I’m thinking about how funny it is but in the moment it’s incredibly frustrating). And finally, I love the work that I’m doing at AMDH. The company is an internationally renowned human rights organization, and the office feels like more of a news room than a service site. We’ve gotten to go to press conferences and have been welcomed into the office culture like old friends; the organization and the people within it are so kind and powerful in their quest for equality and democracy. So far, I have been challenged, surprised, and enthralled by my experiences in Morocco. “In sha allah” (God-willing, as they say) I will get used to the smell.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Ed Nichols says:

    Zoe, I read your other posts on the OACS blog. You’ve come a long way from saying Morocco smells. I’m proud of you! Ed

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