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"A Photo Journey of the Top Life Lessons Learned in Amman, Jordan" by Ciara Tenney

"A Photo Journey of the Top Life Lessons Learned in Amman, Jordan" by Ciara Tenney

When I first arrived in Amman I had some trouble adjusting to life here and being so far away from my family. This was quite evident during my Arabic classes, as I would generally remain quiet and my disposition radiated the difficulties I was having. This was reflected in my participation grades, which were low compared to what I normally receive in my classes. In order to find out what was going wrong, I had several meetings with my Arabic professor and she told me exactly what I needed to do to improve and took the time to listen to everything that I was struggling with while studying abroad. Due to her patience and willingness to work with me, I managed to completely transform my participation and attitude in classes, as well as my overall disposition in general. I learned through the adversity that your attitude is 100% within your control, you can choose to be sad and homesick or you can find happiness wherever you are. In the second half of the semester, I chose the latter. Photo credit: Tenney, 2019

One of the best decisions I have ever made was dropping the money to join the Quicksand gym in Abdoun. Before I arrived in Amman, I was convinced that I could never become as fit as I wanted to be because of a congenital back defect and old, chronic injuries from high school. Throughout my time in Amman I went to the gym 4-6 days a week and took one-hour classes varying from Yoga to TRX to CrossFit, which in of itself is something that I never thought possible. Not only was I able to participate in this number of classes every week, but my back was almost a non-issue, I rarely suffered from pain and I grew a lot stronger. Through this experiences I learned firsthand that your body can do so much more than you think it can, and if you start saying I can rather than I can’t, good things will begin to happen. That’s not to say I had no difficulties, but I was able to keep going even if that meant modifying some movements. Go for whatever you’re afraid of, you never know what might happen unless you try. Photo credit: Tenney, 2019

While it was difficult for me to be away from my family for four months, but even when I was struggling I found many moments of beauty and joy in Jordan. I took this photo of my favorite dish, Muesli, during our first week here when we went on a scavenger hunt in the neighborhood of Weibdeh. One of my favorite places in the city has to be Weibdeh, with its many cafes and beautiful buildings. When I wanted to focus and study, I often went to cafes like Rumi and Aristotle in Weibdeh, and it was always an immensely enjoyable experience. Rumi has excellent coffee and a delicious food dish called Muesli which I highly recommend. Through spending time in Weibdeh I learned that it is important to have a physical place that you find peace and makes you happy that you can escape to if needed or if you just need to get some work done. Photo credit: Tenney, 2019

I was extremely nervous about coming to Amman because I knew that my spoken Arabic ability was lacking, and I thought that I would not be able to communicate with the local people at all. This fear of mine turned out to be overblown – not only do many people in Amman speak English, they are some of the most understanding and welcoming people that you will ever meet. All you have to do is say hello, how are you, and introduce yourself to Uber drivers and they immediately compliment your Arabic as being excellent. Many Uber drivers are quick to welcome you to Jordan and wish you all the best here. The people of Jordan are helpful, and even if your Arabic is broken they will be thrilled that you are making an effort to speak and learn their language. Through my experiences with the local Jordanian people I learned that it is completely fine to not be perfect and to make mistakes, it truly is the thought and effort that counts. So even if you’re not sure how to say something, give it a try. Photo credit: Tenney, 2019

Since the time I was in high school, I have been a fiercely independent person; I moved out-of-state to go to university in a big city, something not many of my peers from Maine chose to do. I have had steady jobs from the age of 16, and I always tried to find my own way in life. As I have gotten older, however, I have learned that your family and your home are both important facets of who you are as a person and there is nothing wrong with experiencing homesickness or a desire to be able to see your parents in person. While I truly believe you will always end up finding your way back home, because of my time in Jordan I discovered that I am more than capable of handling myself while living far away from home and doing well. But in the end, I am excited to return home to see my parents, friends, and my beloved home state. Photo credit: Tenney, 2019

"Leaning In" by Lane Fisher

"Leaning In" by Lane Fisher

"A Semester in One Second a Day" by Max Aboko-Cole

"A Semester in One Second a Day" by Max Aboko-Cole