It is three years later and Tyler Jones is still feeling the benefits of the NSLIY Arabic program that he participated in (NSLIY 2008). He recently wrote Legacy’s NSLIY Program Director, Mitra Nafissian Rash this inspiring letter of appreciation.

Tyler Jones, NSLIY participant 2008

“In case you do not remember me, I traveled with your Legacy group in 2008 to Marrakesh. I am now a student at the University of Michigan and am studying abroad in Meknes, Morocco this summer as an Arabic Flagship student. I just visited Marrakesh this weekend and I felt it appropriate to email you about the trip.

Being back in Marrakesh was an experience like no other. The smells in the market, the songs of the snake charmers — I can only characterize it as feeling at home. I met with Sif, my home stay brother from 2008. He and I have stayed in contact since that summer and we decided to catch up. I still remember the walk from the main square back to his house. I sat with him, the two Legacy students who are currently studying with him, and the young man who lived with Sif the year before me and is now a Boren student in Fes (he was visiting Sif for the weekend). There we were, 3 generations of Legacy students, sitting in Sif’s living room, drinking juice and sharing old war stories of the souq. It was truly remarkable talking with Sif and the other American students about Morocco, the Arabic language, and how far we have all come.

After saying goodbye to Sif’s mom and brother, I ventured back into the souq. I left with a profound feeling of pride and gratitude, and I wholeheartedly believe I have the Legacy program to thank for that. Without those 2 months in 2008, I never would have understood the value of the Arabic language. As a student, it is very easy to lose sight of the overall goal behind language study: to connect with others.

Tyler and friends in Morocco

Cramming vocabulary and grammar, it becomes easy to forget that language is about people. Every time I sat down to eat dinner with my family, every time I walked to the market with my home stay brother, I understood firsthand the value of language — I have Legacy to thank for that. The connections that Legacy helped me foster are still very strong today. Perhaps even more important than the language, Legacy gave me a second home, situated very nicely in Jamaa al-Fna.

Again, I just want to thank you for the experience you provided me 3 years ago. It is still paying dividends today. I was so glad to see the next generation of Legacy students staying with Sif — I have no doubt they will feel the same way I do.

Best Regards,
Tyler Jones