Ramadan Kareem from Jordan
One month has already passed since the arrival of our students to Jordan and two weeks ago the holy month of Ramadan has started. Being in Jordan during the month of Ramadan is a great opportunity to learn more about the culture and the traditions in Jordan. Since Jordanian Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, gathering over the main meal (Iftar) every day is an essential tradition in Ramdan, everyone eats at the same time and get the chance to see the extended family members and friends and catch up with them on their life events. Ramdan has a unique flavor in Amman, it’s the month of spirituality, the month of bonding and caring for the others and the month of being grateful for all the blessings we have.
During this holy month our students have visited a lot of places in Amman the capital, and have also been on trips to Wadi Rum and Petra which was an amazing experience for everyone. In this newsletter the students have shared a lot about their experience in Jordan and their impressions about life in Amman. I wish you an enjoyable reading.
King Abdullah Mosque
As a group, we boarded two buses and rode together to the mosque. It was easy spotting the mosque due its size and beauty. Before entering the mosque, the girls changed into full black robes that covered everything from their feet up to their hair. Then we took our shoes off and entered the space. One huge (and very comfortable) red rug, decorated with ten pointed stars, covered every inch of the space. We learned about Islam, the religious tolerance and community in Jordan (as evidenced by the 3 churches surrounding the mosque), and some facts about the mosque and it's creation.
Washington University in St.Louis
I am a student from Washington D.C. and studying at the Catholic University of America in International Affairs.
I wanted to study in Jordan because I believe Arabic is a vital language for career positions that I am interested in. Other than career goals, I believe the region in itself should be understood more as an American. Jordan, being part of the holy land and its connection to Israel, has made it a very attractive moment for me to indulge in the rich history of the region.
Currently I am a graduate student with a lifetime goal of being a foreign service officer for the United States. This upcoming year I will graduate with my masters and plan on taking the foreign service office test prior to graduation. I believe my knowledge in Arabic because of CIEE and this program will allow me to make it to the next step of the process. Inshallah it will work out but look forward to whatever option or path life may present itself in the future.
I came to Jordan with a limited Arabic understanding so I am in the basic introductory classes. immersion has been difficult at times but is the reason why I am studying here this summer. I believe full immersion is a key to progress in any language.
With the numerous Welcome to Jordan greetings we have received during our stay here, Jordanians are one of a kind and have bee very hospital able. This past week we saw the ancient ruins of Petra, the desert valley of Wadi Rum, and we will be embarking on a biblical tour of Jordan this weekend. Culturally the food and environment has been superb amongst the chaos of what we call the Jordanian rush hour in our taxis. I would encourage anyone to be part of this great experience and to continue their studies in such a program through CIEE.
Last weekend, me and a dozen other CIEE students mastered the public bus system in Jordan to go some 45 km north of Amman to the ancient city of Jerash. Like most ruins in the Middle East, Jerash's ancient city lies in the center of the modern one. For only one dinar, we got to ride a mini bus through the winding highway north of Amman. Hadrian's Gate greeted us as we managed to only pay 50 qersh entrance fee with the luck of our PSUT student IDs. There weren't that many tourists rambling around the ruins, so we were able to silently enjoy and run around the town - piled with history. Churches, temples, and mosques litter the site, because generations upon generations utilized past structures to build new ones and worship new gods. Because there weren't many people, we also climbed and explored the nooks and crannies of Jerash, almost feelings that walking the cardo that we were back in Roman times. Jerash was only an hour away from Amman, but it seemed as though we stepped back in time.
George Washington University
My name is Amber Montgomery and I'm originally from Baltimore, MD but I go to school at the University of Pittsburgh, studying History, Political Theory, and Arabic. I had always wanted to study abroad in the Middle East and I picked Jordan because I'd heard to many great things about Amman, I had already studied some Shami dialect, and because of the proximity to Palestine. I'm not sure quite sure what I want to do in the future but I'm sure now that'll I definitely want to return to Amman in some capacity. This semester I'm only taking Arabic classes, both Modern Standard and Dialect. I'm loving every minute of my experience in Amman so far, I have an absolutely amazing host family and I've had the opportunity to make life long friends both with fellow CIEE students and local Jordanians. My time here has been more rewarding than I ever would have imagined and I already never want to leave!
University of Pittsburgh
Wadi Rum, Magic, and the Inescapable Oriental Epistemology
“Wadi Rum was magic,” I told my Colloquial teacher in Arabic. However, whether it was my poor pronunciation or a simple misuse of the word, she did not understand me until I muttered it in English a couple of times, as if I were incanting a spell: “Magic. Magic. Magic." As an American studying Arabic in the Middle East, I am always acutely aware of my given role and place within the different cultures and histories and their nefarious intersections and interpretations as I navigate all parts of life—the simple and magical. Nevertheless, riding my camel through the slippery red sands of Wadi Rum with my Jordanian scarf, I couldn’t help but think of Lawrence and his strange desire for the desert, and understand it well. As I danced with the Bedouins that night and laid on the sand awe-struck by the Milky Way, the magic weaved itself into my memories forever.
University of Illinois Chicago