Written by Sabrina Laverty, (American University) CET Jordan: Internship, Spring 2017
As the semester comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on my experience here in Jordan for the last few months. As I prepare for my departure, I am sad to leave behind all the friends I have made, as well as the wonderful CET staff I have grown to love. But, when I first arrived in Jordan, I struggled to find my place and adjust to my new surroundings. Since this will be my last blog, I feel that I should help you prepare for adjusting to life in Jordan. Here are some tips:
Even though CET staff are a resource and a point of support during your time in Jordan, you gain a kind of independence you may have never experienced before. Most of you that will study abroad will not be fluent in Arabic or the local dialect, so you have to make it a priority to study. Sometimes you will struggle to understand, blend in, and communicate. Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation that you are unprepared to handle. Trust yourself and trust CET to make your experience in Jordan memorable. In the beginning, I was so nervous that I would not be able to talk or understand cab drivers, but with a little bit of confidence and some in-class roleplaying, I was able to master bargaining and directions in Amman.
Give yourself time to learn and adapt. Do not put pressure on yourself if you think you are not adjusting at the same rate as your peers. Make time for yourself. Do things you enjoy. Every Thursday I traveled to a new part of the city and ate at a new restaurant. I went to see local bands play, go to museums, art shows. Always make sure to have some fun!
Spend extra time with your language partner. Take time to learn about the amazing people living all around you. Ask your professors for more time to meet with them. Since my language partner and my professor were good friends, I was able to hang out with them both. Not only did I learn about how to make different food, but also about Arabic music, tv-shows, and fashion in Jordan. Use the time you have in Jordan wisely.
Ask questions. I do not mean just ask questions when you are in class. Ask questions when you see something you think is “out of the ordinary.” Ask why the trees are titled, ask why there are no lines in the street, ask how to make hummus. Do not just let things pass. Try to understand as much as you can first hand.