Home Away From Home August 08, 2023

By (Political Science and Government, Southern Methodist University) - abroad from 02/01/2023 to 05/17/2023 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 found a newfound respect for people who live differently from me and a drive to learn more about the regional history and current political situation, which affect the people that I met on a daily basis. I also believe that my internship was not only educational, but the most impactful experience that I have (or may ever have) had in my life. I cannot overstate the way that this program has changed even the way that I think about things and my perspective on issues that seemed so simple to me a year ago. It was so worthwhile.

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 overall educational experience was amazing! A the places we were able to visit and the people we were able to meet taught me so much about the region and introduced me to perspectives that I had never previously considered. I was so grateful for our Academic Director, who carried the program and helped us really take advantage of our time in Jordan. Although sometimes I wished that the classes were more organized or that the expectations for assignments were more clear, I quickly learned to go with the flow and learned so much from the experiences we all shared. I would personally recommend taking the 3 credit Arabic class over the 6c if you are more excited to spend time with your host family and if you aren't trying to become fluent in Arabic. I still learned so much and felt as though I had more free time to explore Amman.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They're literally angels who will do anything to see you succeed. They cared about each of us so much and knew how to get things done to communicate with our host families, teachers, etc. They are amazing.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family could not have been more amazing. They are some of my dearest friends, and I know that we will all always treasure the bond that we made that semester. They took such great care of me and showed me all around the city, introduced me to their extended family, and helped me in every way. I truly don't know what my experience would have been like if I did not live with a family. It was the best aspect of the entire semester.

* Food:

Jordanian food is amazing. Even if you are picky, there is always something that you are going to like. The host families and school are also very accommodating to vegetarian / other diets, so if you are worried about that, don't let it stop you from studying in Jordan. I still think about Mansaf and Makluba 24/7!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Each host family is different, with different culture and traditions. It was so fun to share what you had been up to with your family with other students and hear about their experiences. I especially enjoyed living with my family during Ramadan. It was so special to be able to spend that time with them and hear about the beliefs that they treasured so much. I was also able to make friends around the city with students my age, and they did an amazing job in showing me around and teaching more about Jordan. I'd say that you're going to get back as much as you give- so really try to put yourself out there (in safe and smart ways) for a more immersive experience!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had a problem with anything!

* Safety:

Americans are safe in Jordan. I did have a few experiences with Ubers, so I would just emphasize how important it is to always be aware of your surroundings, just like you should be in any big city in the US. I was glad to have an amazing host family, Jordanian friends, and the SIT staff always looking out for me.

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

The way the SIT Staff, my host family, and my new Jordanian friends just welcomed and embraced us was the most amazing part of the whole experience. Nothing could have prepared me for their kindness and love, which fostered such an amazing learning environment inside and outside of the classroom.


* 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)


* 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? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
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? Talk to your host family more in Arabic than English as the semester goes on!

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
  • Internship
  • SIT Staff / SIT Students
* What could be improved?
  • Organization of Classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How I wouldn't ever want to leave!

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'