College Highlight June 12, 2021

By (Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Emory University) - abroad from 02/06/2021 to 05/18/2021 with

SIT Study Abroad: Jordan - Geopolitics, International Relations, and the Future of the Middle East

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I had never spent so much time out of the country in one place, so I had never been able to engage with another culture on that same level. Every day I was pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, learning, and enjoying a country that has grown very dear to my heart. It was challenging in many regards, but I needed that push, especially for the sake of my 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 academic portion of my program was greater than I could have every wished for or expected. Not only was it challenging and engaging, it was inspiring. Speaking with professionals from various fields that related back to my field of study showed me different avenues I could pursue with this route/major.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff from SIT Jordan Geopolitics was absolutely amazing. Because of COVID, they had downsized quite a bit prior to our arrival, but they ran as smoothly as possible. All four of the remaining staff were clearly experienced, dedicated to our success and happiness, and wonderful to be around every day for the three and a half months.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Of the seven homestays I've done in my life, mine from Jordan was by far and a way my favorite. They were so kind and patient with my Arabic, but they also spoke wonderful English for when my Arabic skills weren't enough. They weren't afraid to engage in intense religious, political, social, etc. kinds of questions, which I was not at all expecting, given how taboo these kinds of conversations can be. My favorite thing about living with them was how included I felt: I was invited to family events and felt welcomed every moment since I arrived.

* Food:

At no fault to the program, Jordanian food is not my favorite. My host family and the staff did pay attention to what food I did and did not like, however, and I felt very accommodated in most things. Unfortunately, I was not able to maintain my vegetarian diet due to the nature of the Jordanian food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My program staff and host family did everything they could to give me unique experiences and involve me in cultural opportunities. I would say each student's social and cultural integration is reliant on him/her/them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Of course doing a program in spring of 2021 meant COVID was a major concern. Even with that being the case and the multiple other personal health issues, I never felt that my health and safety was threatened. When I needed COVID tests or to go the clinic, it was easily accessible and inexpensive.

* Safety:

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

I loved my host family, my staff and instructors, and Amman so much that I would return to be with them in a heartbeat. I would also love to continue learning about Politics of the Middle East. I truly wish it were an option to do the semester again as a continuation of what I have completed.


* 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)

Each week, we were allotted a 50 JD (about $75) stipend for taxis and lunches. The only money I spent was for leisurely activities like shopping or staying a night at Dead Sea.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? For necessary expenses, maximum $20.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat in the homestay as often as possible, and oftentimes you can find lunches for the equivalent of $3. You just have to look around and go where locals go.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
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? Arabic 201
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? Many Jordanians under the age of 30 speak good English, and they will attempt to use it. I would pretend I didn't speak English, or I would only respond in Arabic. Don't be afraid to talk to strangers (if you feel safe doing so).

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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Host family
  • Arabic Class
  • Excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Internship program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I had had more knowledge about the Jordanian dialect and that I had been prepared to converse in it.

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!