Written by Micheala Sharp, (Macalester College) Student Correspondent CET Jordan: Middle East Studies & Internship, Fall 2018
I’ve never left the United States, ever. I thought going to L.A was an exciting journey – after being in Jordan for a few weeks I realized that many of the travel guides and resources that I read before my journey were geared towards frequent travelers. For those who are nervous, triple checking their list, and anxiously awaiting their arrival to Jordan I present you with 10 helpful tips.
1. The currency exchange rate in Jordan is 1USD to around 1.41JD at first that may be surprising but the cost of living in Jordan is different. For instance, food is cheaper in restaurants a falafel sandwich can be less than 1JD. So, even though the exchange rate is against the dollar your money can go further than you think.
2. Create a budget for yourself, with exchange rates, bank fees, etc it is easy to lose track of your money to ensure you are not eating falafel sandwiches towards to end of the semester you should track your funds.
3. Jordan is a predominantly Islamic country but people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, devotion, and political spectrums. I heard Cardi B and The Weeknd blasting on the streets my first week it’s not all Fairuz.
4. Full immersion is HARD, in the Internship Program we only have class 3 days a week and that is still very difficult. This piece of advice really helped me when I was frustrated with the language pledge; you cannot fully be yourself in your second language instead of transplanting all of your thoughts and emotions into Arabic try to become a different person. If that means that you have to become an observant 4 year old – so be it.
5. More than any other time in your life it is important to advocate for yourself, CET is a unique program with many helping hands; no one will be able to help you if they don’t know that you need help.
6. Dont forget an international adapter and converter! The adapter may not be enough and your appliances can overload the socket.
7. It’s not just the Jordanians who are different but also the members in your cohort are all diverse individuals from a variety of schools.
8. Please, pack good walking shoes our apartment is on a hill and Jordan does not have many consistent sidewalks.
9. Remember it does get chilly in Jordan, not Midwest cold but cold enough to warrant a jacket or two.
10. Modest fashion doesn’t mean that you have to be frumpy, I recommend going on Pinterest and looking at examples of modest fashion because it can be quite liberating respecting this culture while still looking and feeling beautiful.
There are many thoughts that did not make this list and the final piece I will leave you with is, you won’t be prepared until you realize you are under-prepared and have to rise to that occasion. No amount of books, magazines, or Facebook messaging past participants can prepare you… just take the leap.