The best possible Middle Eastern study abroad experience. Past Review

By (Emory University) - 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?
I gained lifelong new friends (my four fellow JOH participants), an appreciation for Jordan as a country, a family with siblings, a basic understanding of statistics (during my ISP), firsthand exposure to Palestinian and Syrian refugee issues, and confidence in my colloquial Arabic skills. The experience was one of the most worthwhile things I've done during my college career.

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.

Each week we were taught by lecturers from local universities, government agencies, or NGO's, and we also undertook multiple field visits to contextualize our knowledge. The ISP at the end was a great way to tie together all of the knowledge we had gained about Jordan with all of the connections we had made.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The SIT Jordan staff are absolutely amazing! Both the Arabic professors and Dr. Bayan, our academic director, were incredible, whether you have questions about the program or questions about life in general. Everyone at SIT Jordan obviously genuinely cares about the students both academically and personally. I'm still in awe of how amazing they were.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had the best host family ever, comprised of two parents, two little brothers, and a little sister. Every night my mom prepared some amazing Jordanian dish, and she made sure that I ate all that I was served. I became so close to the entire family, especially my little sister, and I know that now I have two families in the world--one in the U.S. and one in Jordan. I will never forget my host family's generosity and hospitality during my stay.

* Food:

Jordanian food is the best--from mansaf, the national dish, to hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, and other traditional staples of mezze, Jordan has amazing cuisine both distinctive and similar to the cuisine of its Middle Eastern neighbors.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

In this program, you live with a host family, commute in taxis to and from the center on a daily basis, go on regular field visits, and complete an ISP at the end on a locally-pressing issue. As a result, you can't help but be well-integrated into the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Jordan has one of the best healthcare systems in the Middle East (as you'll learn), so healthcare experiences are generally positive. Personally, I was quite impressed with the quality and inexpensiveness of the healthcare that I received. At one point during the program, I developed a fever that last for a few days, so my Arabic professor took me to the best private hospital in Jordan to get checked out by a doctor. We visited the ER and were seen immediately. The visit was comparable to, if not better than, a visit to a doctor in the U.S., and it only cost about $15 (without insurance). The antibiotics that the doctor prescribed me were readily available at local pharmacies and all of the pharmacists that I met spoke English. As for the general health issues in the country, there is nothing that wouldn't be a health issue in the U.S.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in Jordan. Sometimes taxi rides can be sketchy, because the drivers can be sketchy, but you learn how to deal with them through advice and experience pretty early on in the program. If there are ever any U.S. embassy alerts, the academic advisor notified you and is available for questions.

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)

This program's fee includes a 50 JD per week stipend. The stipend is given to you by the AD each week which makes it easier to manage the money. The only downfall is that the 50JD is only meant to cover expenses during the week, which means that on the weekend, if you didn't manage your money carefully, you might run out (this also depends on how far your host family lives from SIT and how much your taxi fare is each day). Amman has been rated one of the most expensive cities in the Middle East, so food can sometimes be expensive, especially if you're buying Wester brands, but if you're just buying local food like falafel or local produce, the stipend is enough to pay for lunch every day. On the weekends, your host family feeds you.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Including the stipend of 50 JD mentioned above, I probably spend 50-60 JD each week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You'll figure it out easily enough.


* 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

Sometimes you don't have a choice, like when you're in a taxi or trying to communicate with your host family.

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? Advanced I
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • People (host family, SIT staff)
  • Food
  • Academic Excursions
* What could be improved?
  • I
  • have
  • no idea
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I would fall in love with Jordan.

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!