Good for Arabic, bad for mental health August 07, 2022

By (Arabic, Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/28/2022 to 05/17/2022 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury In Amman

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My Arabic improved immensely simply from using it every day. In terms of Jordanian Colloquial Arabic, my knowledge went from zero to conversational proficiency. The experience was definitely worthwhile for some of the amazing travel experiences and memories with friends.

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.

In every class, homework amounts were unreasonable and detracted from time spent engaging with my host family and the local community.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

First host family was a bad mismatch but the second family was incredible

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Towards the end of my stay, I went to the emergency room due to food poisoning. Program staff responded promptly to help me, the emergency room was well-run and easy to navigate, and the visit was covered by the health insurance I had through the program.

* Safety:

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

The academic stress and unfortunate influence of COVID on my semester detracted a lot from my experience. However, the friendships I formed with other American students on the program, through shared suffering, were invaluable.


* 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)

Considering how much the program costs, I felt that I was spending a lot out of pocket for necessary transportation to and from school every day. Amman's public transportation system is bad and taxis are expensive, but it is not safe or feasible to walk anywhere.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Use the white "service" taxi to get downtown


* 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? Advanced
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? Advanced Modern Arabic I
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? Hang out with your host family!

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Host family
  • Food
  • Program excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Academic/life balance
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Prioritize your mental health, exploring Amman, and interacting with your host family and locals. The coursework is only secondary.

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!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Project-Based Level 4 MSA

Course Department: Arabic
Instructor: Aliaa Hamouda
Instruction Language: Arabic
Comments: The curriculum was poorly planned and catered only to certain students in the class who were interested in particular topics or had never studied basic Arabic grammar. It was not challenging. I was assigned boatloads of homework that was not useful to my learning.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Accelerated Jordanian Colloquial Arabic

Course Department: Arabic
Instructor: Lubna Muawad
Instruction Language: Arabic
Comments: Lubna is the best Arabic teacher I have ever had. She noticed our recurring mistakes and explained them to us clearly and lovingly. She made sure everyone was engaged in the discussions and pushed us to speak about challenging topics. Her assignments were fair, fun, and low-stress. That being said, the curriculum could have had a more logical structure and order; there were some basic verbs and expressions presented in later chapters that I think we should have studied earlier.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Refugees and Forced Migration

Course Department: Arabic
Instructor: Peter Stavros
Instruction Language: Arabic
Comments: This class was fun, the material was appropriately challenging, and I participated in class a lot. I think the class could have made better use of the location in Jordan and done field trips to local refugee communities.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Current Political Issues in the Middle East

Course Department: Arabic
Instructor: Khetam Al-Wazzan
Instruction Language: Arabic
Comments: Class was challenging, teacher was very knowledgeable, lots of engaging discussions, papers and and presentations were evaluated fairly
Credit Transfer Issues: No