Life Is Twofold! ALC Fes Student Voice

What Is Happiness? Life Is Twofold by Ibrahim in Advanced 4

With a lot of people speaking about happiness, I have come up with a theory (I don’t know why I call it that, but I do), and I would like to share it with you. It is entitled “life is twofold.”
Happiness is partial, never complete, and takes the form of a circle in which the same patterns alternately repeat themselves again and again. This means that someone will always experience fragmented patches of happiness and the opposite of happiness until their final days. There is no period of time in life that we call “the period of happiness.” As you have felt happy and sad in the past, you will feel the same in the future; this is what I mean by the same patterns constantly repeat themselves. The dead man went through the same patterns, and the newborn baby will live the same patterns; only the timing changes.
And believe me, what makes you happy today might make you sad tomorrow; this is a painful truth of which I have recently grown aware. As we are vulnerable and live in an unpredictable world full uncertainty and danger, we should accept our fate, cherish the periods of happiness, and resist the periods of sadness.
I liken happiness to a mirage in the desert. The sweaty, thirsty man is euphoric when he sees water from afar; as he walks desperately nearer, the water disappears. Never try to run after happiness; you will never catch it. Don’t work for it; you will never achieve it. Enjoy happiness when it knocks on your door unexpectedly and before it leaves again.
Life is fun only when it is unpredictable.

Click here to read the rest of the edition of Student Voice February-March 2017

Fez: A City of Wonders! ALC Fes Student Voice

Fez: A City of Wonders by Nada Drissi El Bougaidi in Intermediate 1

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Known as Morocco’s cultural and historical capital, Fez is a city of treasures and a mixture of old and new.
Famous throughout almost the whole world, Fez is known for its beautiful historic monuments and its traditional industries. It’s therefore not surprising to find some of the finest museums in Morocco right here in Fez. Fez is a recommended place to visit during a trip to Morocco.
The smells, the beauty, the confusion, and the colors are all around as you seem to stumble from narrow alley to narrow alley in the souks. Don’t hesitate to get lost in the Old Medina at any time of the day. You’ll discover unexpected places, and in the end, you’ll be amazed and delighted to see how beautiful this spiritual city is.
This intellectual city has many ancient buildings as well, such as the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts, which is a fascinating museum, and Al-Quarawiyyin University, which has been named the oldest university in the world, so it’s definitely worth a visit. And also, if you come to Fez, visit a traditional hammam. It’s a truly refreshing experience.
Furthermore, Moroccan cuisine is considered to be one of the greatest cuisines on the planet, and Fez has retained the prestige of Moroccan cooking for special occasions, so don’t leave Fez without trying tagine and b’stilla.
Moreover, Faissis are so kind, generous, and open-minded. You can find in this breathtaking city many people who live together peacefully and happily.
And, besides all these things, the modern part of Fez, also called the New City, is of no great interest to tourists. This part of the city looks like any conventional city with its large shopping malls, but, in reality, the hotels in The New City are cheaper than those situated in the Old Medina. Fortunately, there will be a call to prayer five times a day from the hundreds of mosques. At first, I’m sure you will find it weird, but soon, you will think how great it is to have a reminder of God five times a day, no matter what your religion is.
Finally, there isn’t too much traffic, even though Fez is the second-largest city in Morocco. The Old Medina can only be traversed on foot. Vehicles are prohibited, and only donkeys and handcarts are used to transport goods. It’s better for the environment, too!
In conclusion, my city is a place full of history and life. So, come to explore our lifestyle, attractions, and many other things. Surely, you won’t be disappointed.

Click here to read the rest of the edition of Student Voice September 2016

The Path Not Taken! ALC Fes Student Voice

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The Path Not Taken by Chaimae Sbia in Advanced 2

I had known James since I was in middle school. I had always felt bad for him. I had always advised him and wanted him to be as hardworking as myself.

In high school, everyone had dreams, except him. He said he wasn’t sure, and that he didn’t know what he really wanted to do. I kept trying to convince him to set a goal just like everyone else, but all he did was criticize me for having a dream that my parents had set for me. I never understood why he thought it was a bad thing. I was hardworking, and I could achieve my dream, which was to become a well-known doctor with a bright future. Almost all of my classmates had dreamed about that. It wasn’t about what you wanted to do; it was about working hard for everything.

I went to medical school, so I lost touch with James, and I barely had time to visit my family. However, I wasn’t that good compared to the others. I was sure that I was working harder than the others, even though I was suffering, disgusted by surgeries and images we saw in books. To be honest, I didn’t love walking down that path, and I was very uncomfortable, but seeing how much money doctors made encouraged me and inspired me. I ended up becoming a doctor. After all the bloody years I spent studying and experiencing, I had finally become a doctor. I had been told that if I didn’t get many patients in the first two years, I would never succeed in this career. They said it was a sign.

Three years passed, and I hadn’t gotten half the number of patients that the others had gotten in one year. I had no time to waste. I went straight to my classmates from medical school and asked them how they had become successful. They all gave the same answer. They all said that they felt comfortable doing their jobs, which gave their patients a very good first impression of them. I asked again and again. I begged them to say that it wasn’t about feelings. It would have been perfect if it was about hard work, but that wasn’t the case.

I had to pull myself together. I searched everywhere for career tests. I was convinced that I should start from scratch. All the test results claimed that lawyer was the perfect job for me. I didn’t hesitate to enter law school because I always felt that I had to follow my instincts. I had always liked debates, and I had great verbal abilities.

I finally felt at ease when I started studying law. It was amazing. I should have majored in law in the first place, but I had been hoping that I could make more money as a doctor. I didn’t care about what I loved to do. It didn’t last long, compared to how many years I studied in medical school.

I became a lawyer, and I was at least six years older than my new colleagues at the law firm. I talked to everyone, and one of my co-workers told me that there was a meeting. I silently followed his footsteps. We waited for the boss to arrive. As soon as I saw him, I stood up. It was James.

James had only discovered his dream during the last summer of high school. He became successful as soon as he entered the field because he truly loved what he did. And here I was, regretting every instance when I had showed off in front of him.

Click here to read the rest of the edition of Student Voice May June 2016

The Architecture of Shame! ALC FES Student Voice

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The Architecture of Shame by Meryem Sabor in Advanced 6

Shame seems to be such a short word, though what those five letters mean is unspeakable. You can never know what shame is; however, the deeper you dig, the more you become immersed in what it is and maybe the more confused you get.
It isn’t some kind of word whose definition in a dictionary helps you figure out what it is. It’s like a tree with numerous roots. For instance, if we search for the word shame in the online dictionary, we will find this: “A painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace.”
You see here the use of the word guilt. In this definition, they are saying that feeling shame is actually related to feeling guilty about doing something shameful or worthy of contempt, but this isn’t always the case. I mean that guilt is borderline related to shame when we actually have done something wrong, and then we feel ashamed of it. But shame isn’t just that, is it? The architecture of shame is way more than that. The more you discover, the more you become aware of how complicated it is.
Shame is designed in a way that is appealing to most people. They see shame as a refuge from all outside storms. With shame, you can’t give a name to yourself, but in the shadows you will remain. The architecture of shame is poisonous. It is a kind of wall that holds you back whenever you try to move forward; it is the venom that gnaws your body and soul, and the motto that is so haunting that it becomes, “Don’t even try. Stay where you are. They will laugh at you.” So, you see, these voices will always be there, whispering in your ear, burning down every single shred of hope and strength you were clinging to, and that is the first step of which shame is made.
And not surprisingly, many people are easy prey, for they will fall in the depth of shame. And those many people who are living with the shame of letting out their potential don’t even know that they are facing shame. So when do we actually surrender to shame? Mostly in front of a crowd of people, or when we are asked to perform some kind of presentation. The presence of a stranger is always alarming. Moreover, when people are in contact with someone new, and that newcomer actually shows so little interest in what is being said, shame comes over you so quickly that you can’t even fight it; sometimes you end up abhorring yourself. Fundamentally, we’ve reached the second part of shame’s architecture, which is self-criticism. You are so ashamed of yourself that you cannot bear yourself. You even start wishing that you could be altered on so many levels. Shame sometimes results in being taunted at school, being shunned by everyone, constantly demoralized and brought down. The more you are criticized, the less confident you become, and the more your shame spreads.
Thus, with everyone else criticizing you, you just end up criticizing yourself and feeling the shame that slowly kills your creativity, too. For instance, in the music field, a star cannot have a decent career if they don’t pay all their dues. They feel this because of not being recognized. Let me be clear—they are not ashamed of themselves; they are ashamed because no one knows them yet, but they know that they will soon be a big hit. Yes, they know it, and they don’t allow any room for self-criticism; on the contrary, they don’t hesitate to get their foot in the door.
Overall, shame is problematic. In the architecture of shame, it always has unpleasant results. It sometimes contributes to unhinging oneself and making others’ reactions more frantic.
As I have said, shame springs from thoughts of fear, from not being good enough and not pleasing others; thus, everyone thinks they have to be perfect when they don’t have to. Perfection is beyond reach, so you can’t keep looking for perfection in order to please others, and thus feel no shame by pleasing them. They will never be pleased no matter what you do; they will always find a way to let you down. You can’t let others monitor your life and embody your fear. This will only result in your feeling ashamed of yourself.
Free yourself from the capture of shame and get your foot in the door of everything; free yourself from those haunting lines and enjoy living the metamorphosis, which will unquestionably make you feel your best.

Click here to read the rest of the edition of Student Voice March April 2016

The Lucky Stone! ALC FES Student Voice

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The Lucky Stone by Aya Mhiouite in Advanced 2

Another day here in the sea, awakened by the sound of bouncing waves. The sun is high in the wide, blue sky and so bright I can barely see the sand. Nevertheless, I still recognize voices and laughter.

Then I realize that nothing has changed; I’m still in the same old spot with the same hopes and dreams. I have always wished to leave this miserable beach. I am tortured by this boring lifestyle each and every day, frustrated every time I see or hear somebody talking about life outside with a large smile on their face or talking about memories with family or friends. All I can do here is watch and meditate all day long. I don’t even get along with my siblings; being the only blue one in the area is considered pretty weird. So they make sure not to talk to me and totally ignore me.

I am right here in my spot, watching the birds relishing their freedom while flying in the beautiful, fair, sunny sky, when suddenly, a strange object is coming toward me. I have finally identified it! It’s a human hand.

I am scared for a moment, but I soon think it is the chance of a lifetime. I don’t even bother taking a last look at this miserable, lugubrious place that I have pictured with every detail in my mind.

I hear a soft voice say, “Wow, it’s gorgeous.” I look up and see a young lady with an astonished look on her face staring at me, checking me carefully (it looks like I have really gotten her attention). After all, being a blue stone has turned out to be quite interesting to this human. The reason why I have constantly been bullied and ignored has made my dream come true.

We are moving now; it’s my first look at the sand from above. As we come closer to the street, my view of the world changes completely. Abruptly, everything turns black. I panic for a second, but soon realize I am in my owner’s pocket.

After a few minutes, I am pulled out of the darkness and placed in a glass box. I look around and think, “Oh my God!” Gorgeous, dazzling, radiant siblings are all over the place. I am speechless! I try to introduce myself, but it seems like they don’t accept new roommates that easily. However, I don’t really care about this situation; the sheer glass offers an amazing view of the room, and the window offers another one of the garden. I am thrilled and grateful to be here.

It has been weeks since I first came here, and my owner, Anna, is rarely home. It turned out that she is an oceanographer, and she travels all the time, discovering the seas and studying animals and plants in their marine environment. The house is always calm and quiet. Another two weeks pass, and regret is eating up my mind.

It has been four months now. During this period, Anna has only come home twice. Today is the second morning of December. I hear a strange voice downstairs. I know for sure it isn’t Anna because she always sings her way up the stairs. I sit here nervously for a few minutes. Later, and without warning, the house is on fire. I am terrified. I try warning the others, but nobody listens to me. I wait for my destiny—patiently, calmly.

Then, out of the blue, Anna’s cat Garfield jumps over the desk and pulls the box down. Glass and stones are everywhere. The pet opens his mouth and comes towards me. The next thing I know, I am lying in the garden. (Apparently, he has been attracted by my color, too.) Soon, neighbors surround the house.

Anna is there, too. She’s down on her knees, crying, staring at the house with a hopeless look, demoralized, downhearted. She has lost everything; all that she has been working toward her entire life has vanished within minutes.

LUCKY STONE continues on page 3 on Student Voice February 2016

Obsessed with Technology! ALC FES Student Voice

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Too many young people are
obsessed with technology nowadays.
Parents should do something, shouldn’t they?

By Hind Sody in Advanced 2

Don’t you think that the Internet has turned our existence upside down? Some people think that it has affected our lives in a positive way, but don’t you think that the Internet has ruined some people’s lives, too? Can’t you see that teenagers, even kids, are becoming addicted to it?
You can clearly notice these days that people don’t socialize anymore. You might meet your friend outside, but all you do is keep texting on your phone. Some even think that they have a lot of friends, like on Facebook or Twitter, but once you think about it again, you’ll realize that this virtual world won’t last forever. Furthermore, you may think that those people behind your computer screen can understand you. Well, that’s only what your mind says.
Have you also noticed how kids don’t play outside anymore, or how all they do is sit in front of their computers and play games the whole day? I hate how their parents act so proud of their children because they know how to use computers. All I can tell them is, “Open your eyes! “ There will come a day when your child will grow up, and you won’t know anything about him, what he does or what he likes.
Why? Because you didn’t limit the time he used to spend alone in his room on the Internet. Because you’re the reason why he’s so addicted to the Internet now, and that’s why he can’t leave his room and meet real people and make real friends. And believe me, he’ll blame you for that. I know that the Internet can solve a lot of problems in people’s lives, but it destroys our relationships, even the closest ones.

By Yasmine Mesbahi in Advanced 2

Many people think that teens spend too much time surfing the net, and they’re not wrong! But, honestly, what do you want us to do? We work a lot on school days, and to hang out, we use social media because we can’t go out all the time. And there is literally nothing to do in Fez, or in any other Moroccan city!
Teenagers think that instant messaging is better than talking face-to-face because you can say whatever you want to, and you really don’t care about what the haters say. You can also watch funny videos, tutorials, and podcasts on YouTube.
But what if you hang out in real life? You just talk and talk for a few hours, then you get bored. Some teens who are not confident could never talk in front of someone like a normal person. They’re always stressed out, and their hands get wet and everything!
So, why should parents do something about it if their teens feel really good and confident, and if they can be their real selves while they’re alone in their rooms when no one else is around? We should have some privacy, too, like grown -ups.
How do the grown-ups want us to learn how to be mature adults if they don’t give us the chance to?! I mean, our parents really need to think about this. Sometimes they wonder why we don’t talk to them or tell them our secrets. It’s simply because some things are private or sometimes embarrassing! They don’t tell us their private things, either! It’s natural to keep something for yourself. I wish that parents would understand.

Click here to read the rest of the edition of this month Student Voice January 2016

Smoking Kills: Don’t Start! ALC Fes Student Voice

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Drawing by Salim Benjelloun in the Anti-Smoking Poster Contest

Smoking Kills: Don’t Start by Samia Arihane in Intermediate 5

Nowadays, teenagers are becoming ad- dicted to smoking earlier and earlier. Ac- cording the Moroccan Association for the Fight Against Smoking and Drugs, about 48% of young people between 15 and 19 years old smoke, which is about 1.5 mil- lion young people. This survey shows that smoking has become problematic among teenagers. According to the same survey, 13% of smokers in Morocco are teenag- ers under 15, which is about half a million young people in Morocco.

First of all, almost all teenagers get addicted due to family problems, which means that when the child turns to smok- ing as a way of forgetting his problems. Second, some teenagers become addicted to cigarettes simply because they are emu- lating their friends, and if they didn’t do the same, they would be excluded from the group. Other reasons are boredom, that is, they have nothing to do, and also the ab- sence of their parents due to work.

The problem is that the majority of children who smoke don’t know that they are destroying their health. One cigarette contains more than 255 toxic substances. A report issued by the Moroccan Ministry of Health revealed that 15% of students whose average age is 14 are facing health problems due to smoking.

The increase in smoking is not only as- sociated with boys, but it has become the fashion among girls, too! Some surveys stated that girls smoke at least the same amount as boys. In fact, girls may want to express that they are liberal and free with this act, that they can do what they want, and that no one has the right to interfere in their lives; but, in fact, those ideas might have seemed true in the 1950s or 1960s, but not any longer.

As a conclusion, by smoking, you not only harm your own health, but the health of the people around you, through what we call secondhand smoke. So, please stop hurting yourself and the people around you for the sake of building a healthy society. As the proverb says, “the mind which is good is due to the health of the body.”

Click here to read the rest of the edition of this month Deccember 2015 Student Voice

ALC Fez Student Voice: ALC vs. Public School Teachers

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 Tom Woodward / Flickr Creative Commons

Teachers: ALC vs. Public School by Marwa Salhi in Advanced 5
Although the ALC and public schools have existed for many decades now, it is irrefutable that the ALC wins hands down due to the quality of teaching that the ALC teachers provide their students. Consequently, you find that more students are attracted to the ALC teachers rather than public school ones.
Both sets of teachers, fortunately, pour their souls out when it comes to bringing knowledge and doing their best at educating the students that enroll in their classes. For instance, they both make sure to explain the lesson in ways that captivate the minds of their students; hence, making the class more engrossing for them. On another level, both ALC and public school teachers may have had similar academic careers, or even may have crossed paths at a certain point in their lives. Essentially, pedagogy is something that they share in common at some level.
Obviously, ALC teachers tend to use more technologically advanced methods to teach, which is believed to plant the seeds of knowledge better and faster for the students, unlike public school teachers who seem to lack “innovative” methods to build up the lesson. Moreover, ALC teachers rely on movies, plays and really fun discussions to increase the dynamic of the class. On another level, students might also present a real challenge to the public school teachers, which would eventually discourage them.
Overall, both ALC teachers and public school teachers of English are noble people with brave hearts. However, if students ever had the choice, their hearts would utterly want to be enrolled at the ALC.

Click here to read the rest of the edition of this month Student Voice October November 2015

As a Man Thinks! ALC FES Student Voice

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Man Thinking/ Do Pixabay

As a Man Thinks by Meryem Sabor in Advanced 6

“As a man thinketh [thinks] in his heart, so is he…” This is quite a well- known aphorism quoted by James Allen. This author is known for his beliefs, saying that men are the complete sum of all their thoughts, and therefore, their thinking blossoms to result in their behavior, as well as their demeanor, be it real or sham.
We live in a world where good and evil are walking all around, finding a way to coexist within the same space, and, con- sidering that fact, people can be who they pretend to be, or they can be what lies in the shadow of that which they pretend to be.
Philosophy sustains that we can never know people for real since their demeanor could be forged to appeal to the viewer, even though deep down, that is the ugliest thing possible. Hence, what I’m saying is that someone who appears to be eerie can actually be normal. Someone who appears at his highest level of happiness can, deep down, be carrying a stab wound of sorrow. Someone who appears to be real can be nothing more than an illusion. Someone who appears to be beautiful and perfect can actually be narcissistic. Someone who appears to be as calm and steady as the ocean waves on a sunny day can be a time bomb.
Isn’t it odd? It’s astonishingly unbeliev- able how wrong you can be about someone. Is it that easy to put on a mask and wan- der around in it? Are people’s feelings this meaningless? There aren’t enough words to describe the depth of my bewilderment. How can one’s thoughts be disgraceful to the point of beguiling the people closest to them? Figuring this out remains beyond my capabilities.
After realizing we have been betrayed by the closest ones, we end up fearing the unknown, builiding tremendous walls of caution to hide behind, cutting off any kind of human contact. There is nothing worse than betrayal, deception, and disappoint- ment. Such heartache results in becoming cold as a rock, isolated, enclosed. We be- come the pure embodiment of loneliness. And no apology can bring the pieces back together because once something is broken, you have to accept that it is broken.
Like James Allen said, “I am the com- plete sum of all [my] thoughts.” I make and shape my own decisions. I grow the seeds of my behavior, but still, I try my best not to betray, nor deceive, nor disappoint.

Click here to read the rest of the edition of this month Student Voice September 2015

Lost in the Medina! Fez Student Voice

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Lost in the Medina by Abdellah Rhazi Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines

I was weaving my way through the narrow streets of the Medina on a dim, wet afternoon. The sky was gray, and a few drops of rain softened the atmosphere.
The first time I was in the Medina was with a friend. We were in a long alley in which we got lost forty minutes later.
The pungent spices of kinds I could not distinguish rushed to my nose. It was an old remnant of a once triumphing na- tion. The huge wooden support planks be- tween the two walls above where we were trapped gave me an unsettling sensation of security; but the surroundings, filled with merchants’ cries, kids roaming around, and fascinated tourists, blinded our concern for security with excitement.
The smell of fresh leather bags, the exotic miniature African statues, and the local handicrafts were amazing. It was en- chanting, as if we were inside Harry Potter’s world, I said to my friend, appalled by the forgotten beauty, only a shred of what it once was.
But this time was different. I had al- ready crossed a long distance before pick- ing up the tail of a long, steep walk of an unbearable street maze. Though I had mu- sic in my ears almost all day long—which sometimes sufficed at putting a barrier between my dreadful reality and myself— what was clear to my eyes was different from what I had once experienced.
My frowning intensified every second as I hastened through the dark alleys. The wet streets beneath my feet had already smeared the tips of my jeans. Sometimes it was ponds of filthy water that sprang across
the darkened bricks.
My eyes fixed ahead, I wasn’t paying attention to anything other than my desti- nation. It was probably because I was walk- ing so hastily and uncaringly that I seemed to drop my cognitive knowledge of myself. I even forgot the headache that had started with me that day. My nose was repeatedly clogged with the mucky smells I tracked.
The stinky mule that was driven in de- spair looked less than happy. It was slen- der and pale, heavily loaded, and moving slowly despite the consistent shouts of his master to speed up. It looked dead to me. Sometimes I would take a long moment to ponder the rightly conditions a mule could have in these parts of the city. Being a mule in the countryside is another thing.
I was set not to look around, but the moment I turned only made my frown more intense. The butcher who opened his shop for business had already dragged his grill outside to show how the meat was cooked. I wondered whether the people who stopped and enjoyed their food in such conditions cared.
The cat lady was sitting miserably un- LOST continues on page 2 on this link

Click here to read the rest of the edition of this month Student Voice Summer 2015.