Hard Work, Fast Paced, Worthwhile Past Review

By (Fordham University) - abroad from 06/16/2012 to 08/10/2012 with

AMIDEAST: Amman - Intensive Arabic, Summer

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a new perspective of the middle east, and saw how people are people all over the world, regardless of where they live. It was an incredibly worthwhile experience, and I only wish I could have had more time in Jordan.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Certainly an intensive language program, as promised. In general, I felt the pace was too fast to actually absorb the majority of what we were learning. I would recommend this summer intensive program only as a last resort for studying Arabic abroad in the middle east - if there is any way you can go abroad for a full semester, by all means I suggest you do. For me, going abroad in the summer was my only option, and so in that respect I am glad I at least got the chance to go, though I would certainly have preferred a full semester.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Staff were personally nice and took time to get to know students on an individual level. One problem I noticed, however, was a certain level of resistance to making changes that students suggested - for instance, the study abroad lounge included a small fridge slightly bigger than one you might find in a college dorm, and this was supposed to serve as storage for around 50 student's lunches. When students brought this concern up to program staff, little was done in the way of recognizing this or attempting to resolve the issue. In general, there seemed to be a disconnect between AMIDEAST staff and the actual teaching staff from the Qasid institute who were actually our instructors in the classroom.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Terrific host family - great placement, couldn't be happier with the housing. My roommate and I had our own room and attached bathroom in the house, and were invited to participate in family functions as though we were members of the family.

* Food:

The program fee is supposed to include three days a meal for the duration, but in reality there is no time to get back to the host family for lunch and so we had to pack lunches to eat in between classes. In general, these lunches were little more than a couple pieces of pita and some cheese or cucumber. Program expectations should be clear about this - you will not have time to eat lunch at home, so just know that going in and plan your grocery runs/requests to the host family accordingly.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Well integrated, especially since we took cabs to and from class each day. While all of our classes were taken with other American students, I still felt as though the host family placement made me a part of the community.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health issues during the program, but the anecdotes I heard from other students who did seem to have been generally positive.

* Safety:

Overall, I felt very safe in the city from crime and violence. However, one major concern I had was the utter lack of seat belts in taxis and other forms of public transportation. It is important not to draw excess attention to yourself as a foreigner, which means dressing conservatively and not being obnoxious in public situations.

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)

AMIDEAST set an unrealistically low budget for taxis - in general, I spent about $5-10 a day just on transportation. I also had to buy a gym membership, which was rather expensive compared to gyms in the US. Otherwise, the program expenses covered breakfast and dinner at the house, so that was covered already and food was relatively economical.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $90
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat in the center of the city, where food is cheaper, as opposed to out at the malls where it can be more expensive. Don't be afraid to haggle for prices on souvenirs.


* 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

All arabic in the classroom, which was excellent. The host family would speak to us primarily in english just to make us feel comfortable, but would push us to speak arabic with them as well.

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? Intermediate Arabic
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? Push yourself to speak only Arabic with your host family from day one, even if it is difficult/uncomfortable. This will be extremely beneficial in the long run.

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
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?
  • Host Family
  • Professors
  • Excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Program Responsiveness to Student Concerns, Both Academic and Quality of Life
  • More Accurate 'Projected Expenses' Pre-Departure
  • Scheduling Classes During the Day to be More Efficient - i.e. less sitting around in the class building in between classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How rigorous the program actually was, and what the change in diet while abroad would actually be like.

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!