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2 posts from July 2013


SU 2013 Issue II

Meaningful Connections 

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.

 Anoma Baht 

Claremont McKenna College

Raghadan Palace visit 

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". 

Holly Tanner 

Purdue University


Summer 2013, Issue 1


Urban Challenge Winning Photo 

Peer winner

Our students with their peer connections went in an urban challenge around the city of Amman, they visited a lot of places and took a lot of pictures. This picture is the winning picture in the photo contest arranged after the challenge. 


Western Perceptions of the Middle East and Islam

            In the days leading up to my trip to Jordan, I encountered the same one question from numerous people: “Why Jordan?”  People often asked me this question in a number of ways, ranging from genuine curiosity to absolute bafflement over how I could consciously choose such a “dangerous” country for study.  The latter was so common that I, myself, began to wonder if I had made a mistake.  A lot of people hear “Jordan” and immediately think “Syria” or “Islamists” or simply “Terrorism.”  During my time spent here, I have come to realize how sad and simpleminded such a narrow view of a large and diverse region is, especially coming from a country whose citizens think of themselves as some of the most internationally aware and accepting of different cultures.  I urge everyone to travel to, or at least learn about, the Middle East and discover all the amazing ideas and values such a place has to offer.  One will find that, just like millions and millions of Americans, people here just want to live their lives in the most noble and dignified way they can.  There is always common ground, even between seemingly opposing groups of people.

 Marc Richardson 

College of William and Marry 


Athletics with Peer Connections

Over the last few weeks, many of us have been braving the hot Jordan sun to do some outdoor athletics with our Jordanian peer tutors. Overall, the experience gives us a great opportunity to practice our Arabic and get to know our peer tutors while having a bit of fun. Though we certainly aren't the most skilled players, we more than make up for it with enthusiasm and sweat. Soccer here in Jordan is extremely popular, so many of the peer tutors are extremely eager to show us a bit of their culture. Scoring is usually hard to come by, but few seem to care as the games tend to be more about the laughs than the goals.  Soccer is certainly the game of choice, but other athletic activities have included basketball and frisbee.

 Adam Dunn