An Experiential Learning Experience That Changed My Life Forever Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., Trinity University) - abroad from 01/28/2013 to 05/12/2013 with

SIT Study Abroad: Jordan - Modernization and Social Change

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I cannot even begin to fully evaluate how my time in Jordan with SIT changed my life. But to try and summarize, I gained a new sense of perspective on the world and life in general. I was given the opportunity to experience a place that not many Americans often travel too. A new love was fostered for the people there and a new outlook was adopted in terms of the conflict that affects that region of the world. I gained a sense of hands-on experience that changed how I view politics, circumventing actual laws and focusing more on the individuals that are affected everyday, such as the Syrian refugees I met in Jordan. In addition, the staff for this program was absolutely amazing. They truly did whatever necessary to integrate us into the community, while still creating a comfortable and safe environment. The friends made on this trip are unlike any others I have ever experienced, and I know that they will be with me for life. I know when deciding on where to study abroad, the Middle East can seem like a terrifying and dangerous place, especially from the American perspective. But I can promise that with this program, you will gain nothing but fantastic experiences. If you are looking for a study abroad experience that wavers from the typical Western Europe trail, this is the place to go; Jordan was truly worthwhile in every sense of the word. And I know I would not be the woman I am today without it.

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 particular program allows for academic intensity, while still emphasizing the importance of experiencing a city. Though program was not particularly rigorous relative to my time at Trinity, it emphasized experiential learning to a large degree. This was very intense in it's own regard.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

This particular program was lead by a few of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Dr. Raed, Ahmad, Dr. Ashraf, Dema, and Jumana have literally become members of my family. They did a wonderful job of balancing a professional environment through which the academic portions of the program were administered, while still creating a comfortable support group the students could take advantage of.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My living arrangements were overall wonderful. I lived with a host-familiy in Amman. Though it was sometimes difficult to adjust to the cultural differences that exist between the students and their families, it was a valuable experience that I will always cherish.

* Food:

The food in Jordan consists of typical Middle Eastern cuisine, which is delicious, though heavy in terms of meat consumption. It is difficult to find varied dishes if one is a vegetarian, due to the fact that vegetarianism is not widely common in Jordan. In addition, it is difficult to adjust to the decreased availability of fruits and vegetables, but still, the food is definitely worth it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt completely integrated into the local culture in large part due to the efforts of SIT and the Jordan staff. We were given the chance to do on-site drop offs at varying locations, both educating us culturally and allowing us to practice Arabic in real settings. The home-stays assisted in this process as well.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not personally have any health issues during the trip, but SIT's staff always emphasized safety in terms of medical issues. They were quick and eager to help. For those that did experience health issues, the medical system in Jordan is a bit slower than that in the States, but nothing concerning in the least.

* Safety:

Amman was generally safe, though women were often targets for cat-calling and sexual harassment. Though this was the case for me, SIT and their staff did a fantastic job of making sure that we, as a group and individually, were always taken care of. They did routine checks with our host-families, in addition to checking in with the students individually.

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)

I personally was not able to live strictly on the 50 JD stipend given by the program each week, though it is definitely possible depending on the location of your homestay. Some individuals lived closer, thus allowing them to spend less on transportation each week. Though I went over budget, it was usually only by another $30 each week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30 plus the 50 JD stipend given each week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to spend smartly with transportation by sharing cabs with other students who live close to you. This has the potential to save you a lot of money.


* 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

The program emphasized using Arabic a large amount, though they always provided students with a comfortable environment in which to do it.

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? I did not have any previous education in 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? Practice, practice, practice. And don't be scared to try it in everyday situations like ordering food or buying things at the market. Try to get the basics down before arriving (though SIT helps with that upon arrival) and use it at every opportunity (such as with cab drivers).

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The amount of cultural integration
  • The friendships created with students and locals
  • The impacting experiences that forced me to become more politically, socially, and culturally aware
* What could be improved?
  • Stipend (adjustment based on location of homestay)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I had known how easy it would be to transition into everyday life in Jordan. In addition, I wish I would have known that coming in without any formal education in Arabic would be fine as you quickly pick it up there.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.