You can't blend in but you don't have to stick out January 20, 2016

By (Luther College) - abroad from 08/24/2015 to 12/18/2015 with

AMIDEAST: Amman - Area & Arabic Language Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a huge appreciation for the Jordanian culture, as well as the complexities of the regional context. I also learned some Arabic.

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.

The Arabic portion of the program was rigorous, the other academic electives were less rigorous. Limited library available with few outside libraries able to be accessed.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Wonderful host families in convenient and comfortable neighborhoods.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living with a host family and connecting with my language partner were what allowed me to start connecting with the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Amman is a very safe city. I felt very comfortable walking alone at night or with another student. Petty crime and violence are much less common than most major US cities. Just be careful trying to cross the street.

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

Finances

* 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)

The best way to travel around Amman is by taxi, which while comparatively inexpensive, still adds up. If you push yourself to visit more remote areas of the city travel expenses start to rise. If you stick to local cafes, etc rather than western chains it's a fairly affordable city.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $75

Language

* 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I hadn't taken any Arabic prior to departure.
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 look like a fool. Insist on using the language when ordering in a cafe, purchasing something or taking transportation. These small interactions will build your confidence.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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?
  • My host family was wonderful.
  • My Arabic instructors and classes were fun and I learned a lot.
  • Being in Amman.
* What could be improved?
  • The location of the program building. It was in the middle of a construction site and wasn't very conveniently located.
  • The academic rigor of the elective classes.
  • Increase travel stipends.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I didn't need to be as worried about my safety or being harassed as I was.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'