Global Health in Jordan: New Perspectives & Finding my Niche Past Review

By (Biology and Arabic Studies, Connecticut College) - abroad from 01/24/2015 to 05/09/2015 with

SIT Study Abroad: Jordan - Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was beyond worthwhile. I was lucky enough to have an extremely unique experience based on learning about vulnerable populations amidst healthcare and actually utilizing that knowledge in creating a research project that could make a difference. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I would recommend it to absolutely anyone interested in health, global care, conflict, aid, it's endless!

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.

If I could award more than five stars, I would! This program provides a perspective on global health that is incredibly genuine and rare to find. I learned more than I thought possible through field visits to refugee camps, hospitals, clinics, health centers, and women centers all around Jordan from the capital to the Badia. Nothing else could have prepared me more for my intended future as a nurse practitioner in pediatrics, able to work abroad.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff of JOH is truly unique. They are hard-working, devoted, selfless, and endlessly looking out for your best interest. My academic director also helped me acquire an internship abroad and has continued to be a resource for me beyond my study abroad program. I cannot say enough positive things.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a homestay family in Amman and it was extremely valuable. They are incredible people and I could not be more grateful for knowing them. They welcomed me into their home and family! And absolutely every day was a learning experience. There is no better way to leave your comfort zone, learn a language, and genuinely integrate yourself into a culture.

* Food:

It's the Middle East...the food was fantastic. And every American guilty pleasure (yes, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, snickers if that's your thing) are all also just as available as falafel, hummus, and zatar.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Taking taxis and exploring on a daily basis made me feel very integrated with the local culture. There is a certain barrier just being a foreigner, but I was definitely able to feel entirely comfortable going about a daily routine on my own by the end and I felt like I left an American-Jordanian.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I actually became very sick during one of our excursions and my academic director AND peers did not hesitate to get me the best care possible. A doctor was easily retrieved and I was on the mend in no time. Endlessly grateful for being so taken care of!

* Safety:

It's a common stereotype that women will feel unsafe anywhere in the Middle East. I would like to make it very clear that I felt comfortable the entire time I was living in Amman. As long as you follow general precautions (which everyone should do anywhere in the world), there is really, truly no blaring threat here on the average streets of Jordan. I felt entirely 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)

Amman is the most expensive city to live in (even over Dubai), so expenses were certainly a concern for me. However, SIT provides a weekly stipend for taxis and lunch, which was hugely helpful and made it so that living on a student's budget was doable and not a major stressor.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~100 USD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Shop at local souks for fruits and vegetables and try to shop in supermarkets that are not located in high class areas so that you are not being overcharged for simple food necessities. Otherwise, it is easy to save money and your needs shouldn't be too extreme as SIT and host families provide so much.


* 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

Arabic classes are conducted throughout the majority of the semester (before ISP) in both modern standard Arabic and spoken Arabic. Host families really encourage language use as most of them speak minimal English and obviously, the program ideal is to speak as much of the local language with taxi drivers, shop keepers (everyone!) as much as possible.

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? Intermediate
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? It is really valuable to use your host family as a language tool! They can teach you so much and it is a very wonderful time to watch some soap operas in Arabic with them and just learn by doing. Cook with them, grocery shop with them, speak to children in Arabic (that is SUCH a good way to learn, especially when you're on their level by being a beginner!) and let go. You can learn from every day.

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?
  • ISP
  • Excursions
  • Field Visits
* What could be improved?
  • Meeting host families earlier
  • More time for ISP data collection
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I was necessarily prepared, nothing comes to mind!

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!