“I n Morocco, our native language is Arabic. But, people speak French, as well. In the northern part of the country, due to colonization, we have Spanish speakers. I learned some Spanish when I lived there one year. Now, I can speak Spanish, French, and Arabic, in addition to English. Morocco is also a Muslim country, but we also have Christians and Jewish people. We’re very open-minded and believe in the freedom of doing your own religion. As long as you do not intervene in what I believe, I will not intervene in what you do. We’ve built that common respect.

I decided to come to the U.S. from Morocco to look for new opportunities, to discover new cultures and improve on my English. But, the main thing that I wanted was to grow and be independent. I wanted to make my own path and find my own ways of growth and development.

There are a lot of misconceptions about being Muslim. But, in the U.S., I’ve never been minimized or disregarded for being Muslim. People have always been respectful and accepting of me. During my first summer in the U.S., I had a professor who would drink Coke everyday in class. But, on the first day, she said that, just for me, she will not drink the Coke. It was during Ramadan, when Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink the whole day. So, in sympathy for me, she didn’t drink the Coke in class for the whole month. For me, that was like a sign of respect. As I respected her for being who she wants to be, she respected me being a Muslim. Those are the kinds of things that opened my mind to how accepting people are.

At that time, I was a student at a college in Chicago, where I became a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. I had never heard of Jackson State until my advisor offered me the opportunity to apply for the Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship here. It was one of the best choices that I’ve made so far. Jackson State has given me the opportunity to realize a lot of my dreams. I’ve participated in many conferences, and I’ve grown a professional network outside of school and the entire country. If it was not for the faculty, the students, and the Jackson community, it wouldn’t have been achieved. For the two years that I’ve been here, I believe that Jackson State is where I was meant to be.”
– Lotfi, graduating senior finance major from Rabat, Morocco