Salaam group is together in JFK airport!

Greetings, Family and Friends of the Carpe Diem Spring 2019 Salaam group: We are happy to inform you that the Salaam group is united and already beginning to get to know one another at the JFK international airport. They have quite a journey ahead of them, with an overnight flight and a change in Paris, however, they seem to be a group that is more than up to the task.… Read More

Marhaba Salaam!

Dear students, A week for now we’ll be meeting at JFK International Airport in New York to start our three-month journey of growth and adventure. Soon we’ll be immersed in souks and Arabic and mint tea (not literally), but in the meantime take the time to enjoy the precious last moments of home with family, friends, dogs, cats, hamsters, your favorite coffee shops, parks, and favorite foods (unless it’s tagine,… Read More

Rayah’s final blog, OE edition!

Written by Bria and Sheldon Bilbo Bloggins here. Not quite back at the Shire, but down from the High Atlas in Morocco and found a ring with some writing on it, looks like Arabic. One Couscous to Rule Them All, or something like that. Anybody missing it, you know where our Hobbit Hole is. We started as eight individuals and somehow ended as three groups of three. (I’m counting Nate’s… Read More

The Buzzing: A Photo Story

Written by Adalyn A few weeks ago, Owen bought a razor to shave his head. After Leighton agreed to help him, they went to the roof of our Ouarzazate apartment and engaged in a shaving war that we now call “The Buzzing.” Many of us still don’t understand exactly what happened on that rooftop, but we do know that, later that night, half of our group arrived at dinner with… Read More

A Biography of Ady’s Traveling Pants

Written by Adalyn Chapter One: The story begins with the Flowy Pants Patrol (FPP) roaming the streets of Tarifa, Spain in pursuit of— you guessed it— flowy pants, an article of clothing that is not only culturally appropriate for Morocco but also exceedingly comfortable. Emily, Leighton, and I wandered into a small boutique, where the FPP made its first purchase. I bought a pair of lightweight, loose, red pants— a… Read More

Deserts, Ouarzazate, Trekking, and Agadir

Written by Nate, Cole Leighton Sorry For The Wait Hello friends and family, we all know you’ve been awaiting this blog for a very long time. I am happy to tell you that what you’ve been waiting for has arrived: the blog! The last post left our travelers in the Sahara desert covered in sand. After leaving the music festival three days early, the group traveled to a small desert… Read More


By Emily Bates Spirits were high as we left an amazing three days in the remote mountain village Taghzhirt to head to the Sahara for Festival Taragalte, a celebration of nomadic culture and music. We were all pretty blown away (haha… keep reading) when we first got to the festival grounds and looked at the rolling dunes of soft sand surrounding us. It didn’t take long for us to throw… Read More

Sights & Sounds in the Moroccan Village

By Owen Kumasaka I’m sitting right now on the ground level “balcony” that serves as the roof to the bottom floor of our homestay house as well. The bottom floor is inhabited by the big animals that belong to our host family, a cow and a mule. They both share time in the little patio (pictured), however, aside from those animals, it is difficult to tell which animals belong to… Read More

Our Culture of Music

By Adalyn Richards Our Rayah group is a lot of things. We are a tight-knit, adventurous, international (thanks, Cole!) group with a sarcastic sense of humor. We collectively speak 7 languages: English, Spanish, French, Arabic, German, Japanese, and Hawaiian. And we may or may not have a benign addiction to chocolate-covered digestive cookies from Spain. But snack preferences aside, we are also a fairly musical group. Despite our hefty travels… Read More

Exploring the Medina of Tetouan: A Photo Story

By Emily Bates Yesterday, after Arabic studies, we went on a guided tour of the Medina of Tetouan, a labyrinth of residences, markets, and religious sites situated within the old city walls. The architecture of the medina has strong Andalusian influence, as it was built by refugees from the Reconquista. A shop in the medina. After walking through the portion of the medina where sheep skin is cured and dyed, Read More

Walking El Camino in Spain

By Leighton Katz Rayah’s third week in Spain has come to a close, and the group has opted for a well-deserved rest day in Córdoba. We’ve all been reflecting on our experiences, namely the ones we’ve had over the past week. Our short time in Granada came to a reluctant close on Friday. Starting with a crack of dawn wake up, we embarked on our journey on El Camino Mozarabe… Read More

From Malaga to Granada

By Cole Daniels-Heald Another week gone by for the Rayah group and the number of stories to tell has been steadily increasing day by day. After our time at La Semilla, we traveled to a permaculture farm called El Molino del Guadalmesí, where we learned alternative group building exercises and goal visualization, all while questioning whether or not we were being unknowingly assimilated into a cult. We all participated in… Read More

Kicking Off Our Adventures in Spain

By Emily Bates Hello friends and family of Rayah! It’s been a week since the start of the program, and we’ve all been quickly settling into the group and our first country—Spain! For our three day orientation, we called the yoga and meditation retreat center La Semilla home. It was the perfect place to start our journey. We bonded over late night talks in our Mongolian yurt before bed, and… Read More

Rayah has arrived in Malaga, Spain.

Dear Friends and Family It is with a smiling heart that I say “Rayah has arrived!”. The group is safe and sound in Malaga and en route to Bolonia to begin their orientation and start their semester. They are a bit road weary from an incredibly long flight, yet so excited at the adventures that lie ahead! We hope that their travels are filled with the magic, education, and beauty!… Read More

Arrival at JFK

By Program Director Jonathan George We’ve received word that the entire Rayah crew has gathered safe and sound in the JFK airport and have passed through security. Spirits are high and everyone is excited to begin the journey! Thanks to everyone back home for all of your support in getting our students to this first courageous step. We can’t wait to follow along on their adventure and will be wishing… Read More

Let’s Begin Our Journey!

By Overseas Educators Sheldon & Bria Welcome to the Rayah family! We’re excited to embark on our journey to Spain and Morocco with you all. Very soon we’ll be packing our bags, hugging our friends and heading to New York City to meet you all (Sept. 12, Iberia Airlines counter, Terminal 7, at JFK, right?). Our adventure will include Moorish palaces, permaculture farms, ferry crossings, Arabic lessons, homestays, music festival… Read More