A fantastic, unforgettable experience Past Review

By (Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/16/2015 to 05/15/2015 with

AMIDEAST: Amman - Area & Arabic Language Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to live on my own in a foreign country, how to acclimate myself to a culture totally unlike my own, and how to befriend people even when there is a clear language barrier present. The experience was utterly worthwhile, as I gained very useful language and interpersonal skills, and I plan on returning to Amman next summer for a job, and perhaps to live there for several years. This experience had a truly profound effect on me, and will not be one that I easily forget.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Fantastic administration who are helpful and readily available whenever needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Lived in an apartment in the upscale neighborhood of Abdoun. Nice, spacious apartment located nearby many stores and restaurants.

* Food:

Food was delicious and cheap within certain parts of the city (specifically food stands near Wasat al-Balad); Western neighborhoods (specifically Adoun) had more expensive food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

AMIDEAST staff helped us acclimate ourselves to the local culture, by engaging with us directly and taking us around the city outside of the normal program hours. Integration was greatly expedited by their help.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Medical help was easy and fast to acquire, almost always had appointments scheduled the same day as when the illness started. The insurance was not ideal however, as it required the student to pay out of pocket, with reimbursement being sent later to the student's home in America (not convenient at all, and a considerable drain on money)

* Safety:

Incredibly safe city, never felt threatened or frightened when travelling. Large police presence monitoring the streets, and a responsive and helpful community if any problems should arise. Worst incidents were always related to sexual harassment from young men, who were not confrontational but merely a nuisance. My safety advise would be to travel in groups as much as possible (especially at night), as this deters any unsavory people from attempting to harass you.

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)

About a 3.5. Although most amenities in Amman are relatively inexpensive (especially compared to those in America) prices do add up, as you must always take a taxi around the city and if you're living near Abdoun Circle the food can get very expensive. My advise would be to buy food as little as possible, and instead rely on one's host family, or buy ingredients to keep in your apartment. Alcohol is also extremely expensive so it is best to limit the amount that you purchase throughout your time there.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Food was about 25JD each week and taxi rides amounted to around 15JD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't make alcohol consumption daily thing Rely on host family cooking Don't shop at high-end malls, go instead to the thrift shops in Wasat al-Balad Be conscious about how often you're taking a taxi as it does add up eventually Try not to eat in Abdoun Circle too often as it gets very expensive Set a budget before going out and only carry roughly 20 JD with you at all times Don't bring too much money around with you, pickpocketing is common in some areas of the city


* 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

Arabic was always required in classroom settings, and once a week we were required to only speak Arabic in the AMIDEAST facilities

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? The final level of Arabic that Brandeis has to offer
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? Don't be afraid to speak to people in public; many of the citizens around Amman are very open and friendly, and enjoy meeting American students who are interested in studying Arabic. Try to spend more time in East Amman, as far fewer people there speak English so you will be forced out of your comfort zone.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • The AMIDEAST faculty members
  • The AMIDEAST teachers
  • The relationships I made during my time there
* What could be improved?
  • The health insurance policy
  • The extracurricular activities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Not to eat shawarma from street stands, it is very easy to get food poisoning when you're unaccustomed to the cooking

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!