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Philip Baites, a language and world business major with a concentration in French and minor in Arab studies, has been selected as a finalist for the national IES Study Abroad Film Festival. As a finalist, Baites has a one-in-three chance of being voted grand prize winner, a title that includes a $1,500 prize as well as national and international networking and recognition. Want to support your fellow Volunteer and show the world what it means to be a part of the Vol family?

Let’s vote Philip grand prize winner!

Asked to capture the spirit of studying abroad—both what it means and how it can redefine one’s world—almost 100 films were submitted by American students as part of the IES Study Abroad Film Festival. His film, featuring an original song he composed, encapsulates his nine months of living and studying abroad in Morocco. Featuring a train ride, Chefchaouen, Rabat, and the Sahara Desert, with cameos by two sweet neighbor girls, his Arabic professor, and his host mother, Doha, Tangier to Casablanca is a story of pain, joy, longing, and journeys intertwining.

Two months after Baites arrived in Morocco, his host mother received news that her father had unexpectedly passed away in Canada. Ultimately, this tragedy led to a bond between her and Baites, while also teaching him a valuable lesson.

“We are all on a journey. And it’s not the places or sites seen that have the lasting impact on us. It’s the people,” he said.