Immersed In Jordanian Culture June 14, 2022

By (International Relations, Denison University) - abroad from 01/20/2022 to 05/09/2022 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 learned that humans are all much more similar than we think no matter how different a culture, religion, government, food, environment, music, or even history is compared with another. On a human level, we are all connected and can find empathy in that reality once we really experience and understand it. In an ever-changing and seemingly growing world plagued with conflict and polarization, I believe programs like my SIT program that allow you to have this kind of experience and understanding are extremely important.

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.

The program is intense in terms of lecture time and reading, however there is ample time provided allowing students to relax and explore Jordan. A perfect balance.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration is a huge part of this program and a main reason why it is such an amazing experience. They all really care about the students and by the end of the program, they all felt like friends to me.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Although I was nervous at first, I am eternally grateful I ended up living with a host family in Jordan. We speak different languages and live in completely different cultures yet by the end of the program they felt like my second family and really made Jordan feel like home. I learned so much from them and my Arabic language skills improved more than I could have imagined from practicing with them on a daily basis. I would recommend living in homestay to anyone interested in studying abroad.

* Food:

There is a lot of rice & bread in many Jordanian dishes so I would say it can get a little boring after a while, but overall the food is amazing.The falafel and hummus are to die for!! And there are other restaurants, cafes, and fast food places serving Italian, American, and Filipino food if you ever want to switch it up.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

During the last week of my program when I would speak to taxi drivers in Arabic talking about my experiences with my study abroad program they would exclaim to me: "You are half Jordanian now!!" If you come into this program open minded and willing to learn, you will gain an understanding and connection with the culture that you can only obtain through the experiences provided by programs like this(unless you live there for a long-period of time of course).

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues during my stay however a couple of students in my program got COVID, colds, and had teeth trouble, and the program administration made sure they were all taken care of ASAP.

* Safety:

I felt safe a large majority of the time I was in Jordan, however the only times I did not feel safe was when I took yellow taxis especially later at night. Although I was never faced with real danger, sometimes the taxi drivers can be a little creepy especially with foreigners. I would recommend always having your phone on you and if you ever felt really uncomfortable asking them to stop and leave the taxi. Also driving is a little crazy in Jordan so I would advice looking both ways many times when crossing the street.

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

This program is truly life changing especially if you have never lived in this region or abroad for a long period of time. You get to meet amazing people, hear beautiful stories, and overall become a better educated, more open-minded person.


* 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)

Food is relatively inexpensive, the main cost during this program is taxis/ubers for students which we had to take on daily basis for class and events.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat with you host families as much as you can.


* 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

Living with a host family is a major part of this program where you really have to speak Arabic on a daily basis. Many families know English at least to a certain extent however they still will try to speak in Arabic.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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 1
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? Try to speak as little English as possible with your host families even if they can speak English. This is the best way to learn.

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
  • International Students
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
  • Culture
  • People(Jordanians, Students, and Administration)
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I spent more time with my host family in general and tried to speak less English with them.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.