One of the biggest hangout spots for youth in Jordan is the café. Everywhere in Amman, there are plenty of cafes for every need. There are traditional Jordanian cafes, Western-style cafes, cafes dedicated to studying, cafes dedicated to reading, and so much more! It has become a major pastime of mine here to discover all the cool and quirky cafes in Amman. It also makes tackling large amounts of homework more fun when I can enjoy the ambiance of a new café with a cup of hot mocha in my hand.
Cafes are also a great spot to meet up with friends from the program or even local Jordanians! Oftentimes my classmates and I will choose a new café for the night to study at. As many Jordanians can be curious once hearing a slew of American accents walk into a café, we have had several times when a Jordanian asks where we are from and why we are in Jordan, then proceeding to help us with Arabic or teach us some new café-related vocabulary. Ordering coffee and pastries is also an easy way to practice Arabic that does not require any daunting conversations.
Currently, my favorite café is PappaRoti. It is a Malaysian café located in the heart of Adbali Boulevard. I also frequently go to Study Lounge Café, which is down the street from my apartment in Swefiyeh. There I can choose my own little private cubicle for long-study sessions and order as many cappuccinos as I want under the low-cost entrée fee of 3 dinars. As for my favorite Western-style café, it would easily be Deja Brew café in Abdoun. There I can satisfy my cravings for avocado toast with a caramel macchiato!
Another cool aspect of cafes in Jordan is that they stay open until late hours. In the US, cafes are generally associated with a place people go to in the morning or early afternoon hours. However, in Jordan, it is not uncommon to find cafes open past midnight. This is because cafés here are usually associated with evening and night hangout spots; hence the biggest crowds of teenagers and young adults will be around 9:00-10:00 PM. Likewise, this is the reason why most cafes in Jordan are not open until noon (with Starbucks being the great exception)!
The Jordanian café culture is going to be one of the main things that I will miss when I go back home!