Written by Micheala Sharp, (Macalester College) Student Correspondent CET Jordan: Middle East Studies & Internship, Fall 2018
Do you have a google calendar, a bullet journal, reminders, a pen to write notes on your forearm? No matter how you keep track of your days be ready for a stark change once you begin CET or even travel to the Middle East. After over a month in Amman, Jordan I have a pretty good handle on what my schedule is like. Please note that students in the Internship program have immensely different schedules. So, without further ado… (drum roll please)
Sunday – Tuesday – Thursday Schedule
|Arabic Classes||English Classes|
|9AM-1PM Aamiya and Fusa
*Office hours before or after
|2:00-3:30: *Sunday and Thursday: US Arab Relations
1:30-3:00: *Tuesday: Internship Seminar
Monday and Wednesday Schedule
I go to my internship at Reclaim Childhood, an NGO that is exclusively an all-female space that offers sports programming to refugees from many different places. I go to meetings and then practices from 4:00PM-7: 00 PM
On top of what you see above, there is a mandatory commitment to meet with your language partner during the week and attend office hours. All of this can seem overwhelming and I would be lying if I told you it did not scare me at first. For instance the week is from Sunday to Thursday with Friday being open for Muslims to go to the mosque. People usually wake up early and go to sleep very late (past 10 PM). Small differences in how your cohorts will view time versus your Jordanian roommates, teachers, and language partners show you an integral cultural difference between the East and West.
What makes scheduling especially difficult is…the difference between monochronic and polychronic time. Amman works on polychronic time; people don’t work off of a clock they work off of events, meaning things are often not on time. While Westerners work on monochronic time; tied to a clock, tasks in sequence, and value being on time. There are positive and negatives to viewing time either way and I welcome you to research these terms. For instance Jordanians usually don’t time out there day in a schedule it’s just one event following another so you will ask ‘When are you coming?’ and they may answer ‘Inshaallah when I am done eating with my family’ and that can be anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours.
But my words of encouragement is to embrace the culture while you are here. Deadlines, opening and closing times, schedules, and personal commitments may not be set in stone. Be adaptable like clay. And more than anything. Make sure to have fun outside of doing homework. You can study for hours in your apartment in the United States but you cannot go out and be surrounded by Arabic and speak to Native speakers in the US—take advantage of this opportunity.