I Dream of Jordan Past Review

By (International Relations, Cornell College) - abroad from 08/23/2014 to 12/19/2014 with

AMIDEAST: Amman - Area & Arabic Language Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My semester in Jordan was a few of the best months I've experienced. I met so many wonderful people, Jordanian, American, and from anywhere else you might imagine. I gained a perspective which I couldn't even begin to imagine as a student from the Midwest. The people of Jordan are amazingly hospitable even if the climate may not be, from my host family to my taxi drivers, I felt like I could become a part of Jordan if only I had been able to stay longer.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Most of the courses remained challenging while remembering that we are all study abroad students who want to experience the region.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They helped out whenever possible, whether we were struggling with health issues, host family issues, or just looking for a good cafe to hang out at.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a spectacular roommate and an amazing family. They were very kind and helped to make us a part of the family.

* Food:

The food in Jordan is amazing, the falafel especially. The national dish, Mansaf, was one of my favorites as well.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

While there are many ex-patriots in Amman, there's still that one glaring difference between you and the average Jordanian on the street. It's not too hard to blend, though, and if you're with Jordanian friends, it's almost like you're not even there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Obviously, the healthcare in Jordan isn't quite as good as our healthcare in the USA. The program staff know how to deal with all of the most common issues, like parasites. I only went to the doctor once and overall it was a good experience.

* Safety:

Much safer than you would expect before going there. While you have to be wary of how you dress and surroundings if you're alone, I don't think it's much less dangerous than any other city. Don't let the neighboring countries discourage you from going to Jordan, I didn't run into any issues based on the nearby conflicts.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

It's definitely possible to survive on very little, even if you're paying for food. You can find falafel on almost every corner for 30 cents and taxis are never more than 4JD. I went to cafes quite a bit, which unfortunately aren't much cheaper than their American counterparts.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Probably between 20 and 40 USD.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you live with a host family, they will usually provide all meals for the student. If you don't, falafel and shawerma are always fairly cheap. Certain neighborhoods are right on a bus route, I was able to take the bus for 35 cents instead of a 1.75JD taxi.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

Tuesdays at AMIDEAST you are only allowed to speak Arabic. There is also the opportunity to have 3 out of 5 classes to be Arabic Language courses, if you have some background.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Arabic 102
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? I was friends with a lot of 101 students, so I would use English with them, but I only spoke in Arabic to Jordanians starting a couple of months in. I definitely recommend doing this, especially if you and your friends are at higher levels. Also, ask your host family. They're there to help you learn Arabic, so don't be shy asking questions!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Opportunities to interact with our host culture
  • Lots of encouragement for students to learn Arabic
  • The Program Managers in Jordan were very responsive to student's needs
* What could be improved?
  • Better opportunities to interact with Jordanians
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I believe that everything I learned in Jordan was a part of my adaption to Jordanian culture. AMIDEAST offers an excellent orientation program, so the most foreign 'culture shock' topics weren't so unexpected. I only wish I had spoken more Arabic from the beginning of my stay.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.