Wonderful Experience in Jordan July 16, 2023

By (International Studies, Colorado State University) - abroad from 02/01/2023 to 05/15/2023 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 think the main thing that I gained from my experience was confidence. It is scary to go somewhere new, with a language you don't fully understand, a new culture, and live with a host family that you know nothing about before arriving. BUT after doing all those things and having a good time it makes me a lot more confident in what I can do in the future in terms of travel and making connections. I also loved being able to live in a foreign place for more than a week long visit.

Review Photos

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

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.

This program had some really interesting classes. The Geopolitics seminar had some very cool guest speakers come in each class which was great. There were not very many assignments during the first part of the program, it is during the ISP period that the academic rigor picks up. The professors were great resources during the ISP and you should ask them about literally anything because they will know what to do. Some of the classes did not have the best communication regarding when assignments were due and what assignment requirements were.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Absolutely amazing staff, very helpful and caring and wanted everyone to have a good time and succeed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

While in Jordan I stayed with a host family which was a great experience. I felt like I was really able to become part of the family. I went to family birthday parties and helped my host sister tutor her cousin. One thing that I took away from the host family experience was the importance of making an effort. Even if there is a language barrier you can still make deep and meaningful connections. My host family really appreciated it when I offered to help out around the house with cooking or cleaning, and inviting my host sister to hang out with me and my friends from the program helped us bond a lot. While staying with a host family can be really scary, I think it is worth it to get a better understanding of a new culture and make lasting connections abroad. My host family experience was particularly amazing, but for people on the program who did not get along as seamlessly SIT was able to work with them to reach an understanding with their families or find new families for them.

* Food:

Within my host family the food was amazing. My host mom was a particularly good cook but overall the food was good everywhere. I am usually vegetarian but while in Jordan I decided to eat chicken since it was easier. Chicken is not really categorized with meat there and it could be hard to explain when I wanted something without meat or chicken. When there were group outings, SIT would get our food for us, this was a bit of a struggle because we could not decide what we wanted or how much we wanted which often resulted in wasted food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I think the program helped students get as integrated into the culture as is possible in the relatively short amount of time that we were there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Health care in Jordan is definitely better than what I am used to in the US. While I did not need to go to the doctor while I was there, other students in my cohort, as well as members of my host family did. Overall it seemed that healthcare was cheaper there, especially with the insurance that is part of SIT, and much faster than in the US. There are lots of pharmacies around Amman so it is easy to get over the counter medicines. One thing to note: there are not tampons in Jordan. I did not see this anywhere before going. Pharmacies will have pads, but no tampons, do not be caught off guard.

* Safety:

Overall I felt super safe in Jordan. For women, or people who are perceived as women, there is a lot of catcalling, and pretty much all the girls in my group got asked out/proposed to at least once. While these situations are uncomfortable, I never felt that I was in any real danger. Most people in Jordan really want visitors to feel safe and happy and will help you if you are in an uncomfortable situation. SIT staff are always aware of any safety threats big or small and will do everything they can to keep students safe.

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)

SIT gives students a weekly stipend to cover the costs of transport to and from campus and lunch. When I only used the stipend for these things it was easy to stay within the given budget and have money left over by the end of the week. If I spent the money on additional things, like souvenirs it would run out before the end of the week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? the stipend was between $70-100 each week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The stipend money that is given each week is already part of the program cost, try to use only for food and transport. Have separate money that you use to buy souvenirs, clothes, etc. Only use stipend money on non essential things if it is nearing the end of the week and you have money left over.


* 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

We were strongly encourage to use Arabic whenever we could. There were activities where students would be put in groups and tasked with finding certain locations/information within Amman by talking to people on the street and shopkeepers. Living with host families was also a big push to use Arabic.

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? 300 level university 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? Jordanians were very excited when I tried to talk to them in Arabic so don't be nervous, but also don't take it to heart if people laugh at you, keep trying.

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Host family experience
  • SIT staff in Jordan
  • ISP experience
* What could be improved?
  • Communication on schedule and assignments
  • Opportunities to meet Jordanian students outside of host family
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? While people will understand you if you speak MSA, they will not speak it back to you and if that is all you know, you will be lost, embrace it. It gets cold and snows in the winter so depending on when you go be prepared for that. Also, if you are there during Ramada, pretty much all food places are closed during the day and it is rude to eat in public. People are much more open about critiquing appearance of themselves and others. I found one pharmacy (snobar pharmacy in Abdoun circle) in the entire city that had tampons, if you use them, bring enough for the whole time you are there.

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!