A lifetime experience. August 12, 2016

By (Emory University) - abroad from 08/27/2014 to 12/10/2014 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I'm writing a review 2 years from when I did the program, but the study abroad experience continues to be memorable, fresh in my mind, and endearing. This program provided various experiential learning opportunities. We visited private/public/military hospitals and were encouraged to discuss the differences and similarities. We visited the Ministry of Health and had the opportunity to interact with local lawmakers and learn about the impact of Syrian refugees on the Jordanian Health sector, including rises in cases of measles and the subsequent aggressive vaccine campaign in refugee camps. We visited UNRWA, UNHCR agencies and learned and saw directly how international aid provides education, stipends, and healthcare access to refugees. Throughout this entire trip, we are encouraged to learn about the social determinants of health, such as being a refugee or living in the Badia, rather than in the city. For several days, you get to travel to the Badia where the local health center is around 1.5 hours away, and you will see many people who use herbal remedies as an alternative. Also, you get to go to the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, and the Aqaba. I still remember distinctively singing and playing guitar in the deserts of Wadi Rum under the bright stars. You make unforgettable friends and learn so much about yourself. I still remember going to Rainbow Street and doing hookah with friends for hours and going to Paris Circle and enjoying a nice pizza. My host family was amazing. I lived with three siblings and even 2 years from now, we still keep in touch. I would recommend this program for the growth you will experience, the opportunity to interact with a different culture, and amazing opportunity to learn about international healthcare.

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.

This program emphasizes experiential learning. We not only read about the Syrian refugee situation, health system structure, water shortage, but also visited refugee camp, private/public hospitals, and water treatment plant. This type of learning was something I was not used to in college. I found this type of learning memorable and meaningful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I enjoyed my AD. She was so helpful, professional, and supportive. I enjoyed all the staff at SIT Jordan. They helped me out with emotional support, logistics, and teaching more about their country.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host family. I had two host brothers and one host sister. As an only child, I found it memorable to have siblings! I loved my host mom and father, and till this day, we still keep in touch.

* Food:

Hummus is amazing. Olive oil is great.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

SIT made an effort to connect Jordanian students with SIT students through occasional meet-and-greets. I appreciated this, but it was hard to feel integrated with the local culture because SIT students are separate from a local university. However, my host family more than made up for integration with the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never went to the hospital here.

* Safety:

As a male, I felt safe and comfortably. However, I remember being advised by SIT staff to walk with female friends because of the amount of harassment. I would recommend not going to Downtown by yourself and not going in the dark.

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

Finances

* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 40 jf
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? share taxis!

Language

* 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? Beginner
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? Arabic 101-102
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Use it with your host family and the jordanian friends that you will meet

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?
  • experiential learning
  • host family
  • students
* What could be improved?
  • more arabic student- SIT student meet and greets
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? read more about the syrian refugee situation, Jordanian healthcare system, and public policy beforehand to have the opportunity to ask more in-depth questions when you meet local lawmakers.

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!