On the daily walk to the CET Center, students can pass by one of the two most popular malls in all of Jordan. Pictured here is the alBaraKa Mall, with a nursery located in front. While Jordan is desert and not as “green” as American students might be accustomed to, that doesn’t stop native and non-native plants from flourishing, it just takes some extra work and human intervention.
During CET: Jordan’s orientation activities, they send us out on a neighborhood “scavenger hunt,” so we can become accustomed to Swaifyeh and locate important stores, like pharmacies, grocers, and electronic stores. One of the more immediate satisfying items we have to find is a sweet shop that sells Knafeh, a traditional Middle Eastern dessert.
Also, during orientation, CET Jordan treats all the students to a traditional Jordanian dinner. Pictured here is just a small contingency from this summer’s group of students. We had no idea how much food awaited us.
While at the traditional Jordanian dinner, we got to have a wide variety of food. From hummus and vegetables to lamb and french fries, not one went hungry. In addition to the food, we also got to have traditional desert, Mahalayeh, and traditional شاي وقهوة (tea and coffee).
The CET apartments are outfitted with gas stoves, and it took my roommate and I way too long to figure out how to turn the stove on. After our first night in Jordan, I attempted to make traditional Arabic coffee, the most important word in this sentence being attempted. Even though I didn’t make it correctly, it has just driven me to try and learn while in Jordan so I will be able to make coffee correctly when I return to the States.
From my internship to dinner adventures with my roommates, food has become a staple of our experience, so far, in Jordan. Pictured here my roommates and I endure a pretty quiet lunch right after signing our full-time language pledges (which meant we committed to only speaking in Arabic). For me, even though the language pledge has been difficult, it has forced me to stop and listen closely to what is being said. There is no passive listening when trying to learn Arabic!
Swaifyeh Village is definitely something you need to check out if you’re in Amman. While browsing the shops and hanging out in the Village CET students got to see what goes behind the scene in a Shawarma restaurant. Shawarma is extremely popular street food in Jordan that you can get on practically every block.
Also, on the way to the CET Center, students pass an impressive amount of upscale bridal shops. There are about 10 bridal stores on only one street! The reason why there are so many bridal shops is really twofold 1) weddings are a really important part of Jordanian culture, and 2) the Swaifyeh neighborhood is one of the more affluent neighborhoods in Amman.
In Amman, many gift shops display and sell many locally made arts and crafts. Pictured here is a locally-made marble small-scale model of the Masjid al-Aqsa (also popularly known as the Dome of the Rock). This piece is in Al-Afghani Gifts, which is near the CET Center.
Lastly, a nice walk down the street is a great way to end the day. This is the view I have every day as I walk home from my internship. With no humidity and the sun setting, this is quite a peaceful and enjoyable walk. Do not underestimate how much walking one does in Jordan, but it’s a good balance considering how much food is widely made available.
Feature Photo Caption:
A landscape view of the Swaifyeh neighborhood in Amman. Because Amman was built on 7 hills, impressive views like this can come from only 3rd story windows.