I have been in Amman for about six months now, and I feel that at the heart of my experience here are the meaningful connections that I have forged with people, the language, and the country itself. In working with refugees through Jesuit Refugee Services and by participating in the peer tutor program, I became well-acquainted with the warmth characteristic of Jordanian culture. I also made many American friends here who have the same interests and passions as I have. I am also grateful for my teachers, who have taught me how to appreciate both MSA and colloquial Arabic in new ways. I realised the immense value of the words "mashallah," "inshallah," and "hamdulillah." These three words alone are a language in themselves, considering the variety of contexts that they can be used in. Many of us also now scatter Arabic words such as "shway" or "mumkih" into our everyday conversations, and I find it hard to imagine what it will be like going back to a place where no one will know what they mean. Additionally, I am now very fond of Amman - its chaotic bustle, the bus system, my neighbourhood and all of the circles. I am sad to say farewell to Amman, but I know that it is just for now. Most importantly, I know that I speak for all of us who have been in Amman and with CIEE for a long time when I discuss these meaningful - and memorable - connections.
Claremont McKenna College
It is said that Arabs love the color green because it represents vitality and growth. If this is so, then the lush greenery throughout the Royal Court compound was no mistake. Palm trees and evergreens line the streets leading to the Royal Palace, which is just one of many in the compound. The palace is, not surprisingly, made of Jordanian limestone and built in the traditional Islamic style. We were greeted on the steps by friendly staff who gave us a tour. Each room was decorated with the complex, geometrical designs typical of Islamic art, the largest being the Throne Hall. It's ceiling was incredibly high and ornately decorated, it's floor made of beautiful white marble, and the lone piece of furniture, the king's throne, sat impressively at the front of the room. Finally, we were shown the royal cemetery where King Hussein, King Abdullah, King Talal and his wife rest. In true Arab style, our hosts gifted us each with a biography of King Hussein before we departed. Though no one resides at Raghadan Palace anymore, it truly lives up to the meaning of its name, “the very best life".