One of the Best Experiences of My Life September 19, 2022

By (International and Global Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/25/2022 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 so much about Jordan and the region at large on this program, and made so many connections that I will value for the rest of my life. I am a more well-rounded and open-minded person after my experience in Jordan, and I even learned a bit of a completely new language to me including a whole new alphabet! I wholeheartedly believe that the program was worthwhile and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to come to Jordan with SIT.

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 program involves intensive lectures and at times lengthy reading but not overwhelming by any stretch of the imagination. While coursework does take time outside of class, there is still a lot of time for students to socialize and further explore Amman.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administrators at SIT Jordan are beyond exceptional; they go above and beyond for students in all aspects of the program. They truly care about all of the students and are a huge reason for the program's success.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a wonderful host family, and despite prior apprehension about living with a host family, I had a great experience. My host family really felt like a family to me for lack of better phrasing, and my Arabic language skills improved immeasurably through our interactions. I felt welcomed and supported, and I learned so much from our interactions. Overall, the homestay experience really made SIT Jordan stand out and I completely recommend the homestay experience for any prospective students seeking to study abroad, whether in Jordan or elsewhere.

* Food:

Jordanian dishes are different than typical American fare - prepare for lots of rice, bread, chicken, and lamb - but it's all wonderful. You will not get better hummus or olive oil anywhere in the world, and if you get homesick for American cuisine, there are lots of fast food restaurants in Amman, with options ranging from McDonalds to Italian to Indian to Filipino food!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

As long as you come onto the program with an open mind and an appreciation for learning, you will forge a connection with the local culture and people that cannot be forged any other way than living in another culture. Jordanians are very warm and welcoming, and as long as you approach cultural differences with grace and a willingness to learn, people will extend you the same courtesies.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The program administration was very helpful in responding to any student health concerns, whether it be Covid, which a few students contracted while in Jordan, or dental issues, like myself.

* Safety:

I felt very safe most of the time I was in Jordan, though walking on certain streets in parts of downtown at night could be unsettling, as it is in any major city. In general, Jordanian traffic safety isn't highly prioritized, so always look both ways and once again before crossing the street. Crosswalks are suggestions at best! Additionally, yellow taxis can be dicey at night, and for female foreigners especially, it's important to be on guard. Always have your phone on you and be prepared to ask them to stop and exit early if necessary. Most, if not all, of the female students had a 'creepy taxi' encounter.

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

As someone who ended up on SIT Jordan: Geopolitics, International Relations and the Future of the Middle East completely by accident as a result of multiple covid cancellations of prior study abroad programs, I can say with full confidence that I can't imagine having gone anywhere else and that more than that, I have no regrets about not having gone somewhere else. I made friends and had experiences that I never would have had on the programs that were cancelled. I went to a region of the world that most Americans will never get a chance to visit, let alone live in for nearly 4 months, and I am so grateful to have had that opportunity.


* 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 generally inexpensive, costs rack up more on transportation - you receive a stipend for transportation too and from class every day, which is typically by taxi, but if you want to go out with friends after class that's on your own bank account.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Definitely eat with your host family as much as possible. I tended to stay in during the weekends and ride-shared when hanging out with friends on weekdays, which helped keep transportation costs down for me.


* 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

I knew no Arabic going into the program, but living with a host family is a huge part of the program, and English levels vary widely among family members. You will speak at least some Arabic on a daily basis, and you pick up little phrases pretty fast.

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? None
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Practice with your host family and fellow students!

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • People/Friendships
  • Staff
  • Culture/Internship Experience
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It gets cold in Jordan in the spring! Bring warm clothes, including a good jacket! I was so glad it was snowing when I left the States, having a hat and gloves on hand was a lifesaver at night, as most houses don't have central heating.

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!