Sep 27 Sep 27 "A Summer under the Sun" by Thomas McLouth Education Abroad Jordan So you’re interested in studying in Amman or have already applied? Let me tell you about my trip! When my plane landed at Queen Alia International Airport, the first thing I did was exchange USD that I had brought with me to Jordanian Dinar. After I collected my baggage, I immediately was met by an AMIDEAST driver who took another student and me to the hotel where we stayed before our orientation. The next morning we ate breakfast and by way of an AMIDEAST-provided car, started our Arabic journey with an orientation at the AMIDEAST office. My first few days in Amman were fluid and moved seamlessly! Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. Photo credit: McLouth, 2019 We met our host family and moved in on our first full day in Jordan after orientation. They were very helpful making us feel at home and helping us acclimate to our newly met culture. Our orientation consisted of us learning how to travel to AMIDEAST daily and how to get around with some survival Arabic. In Jordan, my roommate and I mainly hailed taxis, but other students used Uber and Careem with little issue. In Jordan, you can use credit cards or cash to pay for your Uber or Careem, which many did. My roommate and I decided to primarily use taxis or use Ubers and pay in cash. One of the most difficult things was learning how to direct our taxis. Taxi drivers in Amman operate on landmarks or street names; addresses are never used. For example, to direct our taxi driver to AMIDEAST we would tell him (written phonetically) “bidee arooh elaa sharea emira basma. Tahet jisr abdoun, lo sawmaht,” which means, “I want to go to Princess Basma Street. Under the Abdoun Bridge, please.” This is how we got to AMIDEAST every day. On our second full day in Jordan, we started classes! Photo credit: McLouth, 2019 Our daily schedule usually consisted of waking up at around 6 am, showering, eating breakfast provided by our host family, and then leaving to hail a taxi at around 7:15 am in order to get to AMIDEAST comfortably before my 8 am class. My roommate’s class started at 10 am. At 12 pm, we had lunch (made by our host family) which we brought with us in Tupperware. After lunch, I would attend my Ammiya or local dialect course. Every day I finished around 3-4 pm. After class, our days differed anywhere from going out to a cafe for tea/coffee and argeelah around Amman (also known as hookah or shisha, but referred to as argeelah in Jordan) or meeting with other classmates to study at a library or places such as “Study House” near Rainbow Street. Photo credit: McLouth, 2019 AMIDEAST host three different excursions throughout the two-term (8 weeks) Intensive Arabic program I attended. Our first excursion was a short tour around Amman where we got to visit the Citadel and the Roman amphitheater. Our second excursion was a day trip to Madaba, Mount Nebo, and the Dead Sea. Our final excursion was a day trip to Jerash and Ajloun Castle. Aside from the excursions hosted by AMIDEAST, a few friends and I went on our own trips to Jerusalem, Petra, Wadi Rum, and As-Salt with the help of logistical planning by AMIDEAST staffing (helping us find transportation and places to stay). We were able to see everything we wanted and more. Be sure to take every opportunity you can to see the region. Photo credit: McLouth, 2019 Overall my experience in Jordan with AMIDEAST was an amazing experience that I would recommend fully. With the Intensive Arabic program, you learn at a fast pace but the courses are structured with retention and full understanding in mind. Even though the program was fast paced, as mentioned above, I was able to travel a lot around the country and nearby countries while maintaining my studies and understanding in class. Our professors always worked with us and helped us throughout the two semesters. Either by meeting with us to help re-explain grammar concepts or to offer extra credit opportunities. This is an experience I’ll never forget and if you’re considering applying, I’d recommend it greatly! Photo credit: McLouth, 2019 Thomas McLouth is a student at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and studied in the summer Intensive Arabic program in Amman, Jordan.