The love that the Peace Corps Volunteers of Morocco have been showing this project is amazing!
Dominic is currently serving in a village named Zagora and hales from North Carolina.
His story embodies the significance that travel has on changing your life, if you allow it 😉
Read on about his life in Morocco.
1. Please introduce yourself.
My name is Dominic Cherod McNear. I am a 25 year old Youth Development Volunteer living in Zagora, Morocco in the Sahara Desert. I am originally from Charlotte, NC and an alumni of the University of South Carolina where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and Campaigning. I have lived here in Morocco for the past year working with individuals from all ages in health awareness, English language proficiency, coordination assistance in workshops and camps and a number of other voluntary activities around the country.
2. What sparked your interest in joining the Peace Corps?
There are a few things that sparked my interest to join the United States Peace Corps, first being my childhood experience. Growing up in a middle to lower income African-American family, not often had we the chance to travel and see other places. I would watch television shows and movies that would take people places all over the world and it inspired me to one day be able to take that journey to a foreign land. In college, I began cultivating this thought and intertwining it with my passion for helping others.
I dedicated countless hours to better my community and felt so rewarded and accomplished from doing so. Accompanied with my works at university, I studied international politics, international civil and human rights, foreign policy, international political theory and a number of other courses that fed my interest in joining the international political arena. My final push to join Peace Corps came from talking with a friend that suggested I look into it. Soon after this conversation there was a career fair at my university and some recruiters from the US Peace Corps were there. I remembered talking to the recruiter and she inspired me to give it a try and to sign up. That same day I applied and the rest is history.
3. As black American traveler, what advice would you give to others inspired to join the Peace Corps but afraid to take the first step?
As an African-American traveler it has changed my entire perspective on the world. To be able to bond with individuals who look similar to yourself from a completely different world is an unexplained feeling. My advice to anyway afraid to take that first step is that you should be. You have to find the passion and the drive within yourself to conquer that fear and face that challenge. This process allows for the ability to grow and achieve goals you never thought possible.
So my advice is be afraid but don’t allow that fear to hold you back from living your dreams and growing into that person you want to be. For me, my fear was leaving all my family and friends behind, however, upon my travels back to the States you find that your family and friends are still there. They are still there to support you and comfort you in your expeditions. In my experience. you can always go home but there aren’t always opportunities to travel. So take that step, do something different, and find out who you really are outside of your comfort zone.
4. What do you enjoy about living in Morocco?
I’ve never lived in any place where community and family value were so important. The Moroccan people are some of the most kind and genuine individuals I have ever met. There are so many people that have welcomed me with open arms here and call me their brother. They really care for one another and have a great respect for their fellow man.
Never in my life, have I been offered to sit and dine with some many different people. I have walked through the countryside where people have never before seen an American and have been offered tea and cookies, a bountiful meal and fruit, just because they wanted to know more about me. Moroccan people have something that I believe we’ve lost in our American culture and that’s the value of togetherness and community. These people have next to nothing in comparison to American standards but their lives and their hearts are rich in love and care for one another. And the food is amazing!
“If there’s one thing I will take back with me to America is loving and caring for my fellow man and/or my neighbor because you never know when you may need someone to love or care for you.”
5. Do you have any study tips for learning Moroccan Arabic?
There aren’t any official documents outside of Peace Corp issued material for English to Darija (Moroccan Arabic) learning. I would say if you plan to join Peace Corp Morocco don’t worry about learning the language until you’re in-country. The first three months of your service is Community-based Training (CBT) where you develop those language skills in order to sufficiently interact and survive in Morocco.
You go through a rigorous language course 6 days a week during this time where you’ll also learn the culture, habits and traditions of the Moroccan people. It can help to have a background in classical Arabic (foos-Ha) but it definitely isn’t necessary. I would suggest to come with the willingness to learn and study hard in order to acquire a basic comprehension of the language. Peace Corps will provide the language training so there isn’t a need to worry about preparation before.
6. After your service is finished, what are your career/life plans?
There’s so much I want to do and so much I want to see after my service has ended. I wouldn’t mind volunteering a little in India next, if the right opportunity comes a long. And also there is a distinct Moroccan population in Spain that I wouldn’t mind working with in English tutoring or offering any professional advice I can.
My hypothetical course would be to finish service, volunteer and travel until my fall semester Master’s program starts. Begin my studies in acquiring a Master’s in Conflict and Peace Resolution Management. Finish my degree and join the US Foreign Services as a Public Diplomacy Officer. Work as a foreign service officer for a number of years in hopes to be appointed to an Ambassadorship. Somewhere in between my career goals I’d like to acquire my Ph.D. in Political Science and retire as a professor of International Relations.
7. Where can people get in touch with you if they have any questions (Leave your social media info and blog link if you’d like!)
If you have any questions I ‘m always on:
Facebook: Dominic C. McNear.
Feel free to inbox me or send me a friend request.