Amman, Jordan

Studying abroad was one of the things I knew I wanted to do as soon as I came to the University of Wisconsin.  In fact, it was the probably the only thing I was absolutely sure of.  Now, two years in, I have settled into my majors (Political Science and Spanish) and even picked up a certificate in something I hadn’t considered before (Middle East Studies).  However, despite my love for this university and the city of Madison, I still want to study abroad more than anything.

Picking out my study abroad programs was no easy task for me.  Since I am studying two different languages, I struggled to figure out how to balance those two programs and find a way to do both.  Eventually, after a lot of going back and forth, I decided I wanted to spend a semester in an Arabic-speaking country and then a semester in a Spanish-speaking country.  With a general idea of what I was looking for, I began searching for Arabic language programs offered by this university.  After even more deliberation, I settled on the CIEE’s Arabic Language and Culture program in Amman, Jordan.

To be honest, I am incredibly nervous to go to Jordan.  Although I have some study abroad experience (I spent Summer 2011 studying in Buenos Aires), I have never been to the Middle East.  I know it is going to be quite the challenging experience for me.  Although I have taken four semesters of Arabic, I only know Modern Standard Arabic and so I am also nervous about learning the Jordanian dialect.  As much as I’ve studied and experienced the culture on campus, I know it will be extremely different living in Amman for an entire semester.  I am guessing “culture shock” will turn out to be a mild term, especially for my first few weeks.

However, all of my fears pale in comparison to my excitement.  I can’t begin to tell you how I eager I am for the program to start.  Since I spent so much time choosing my program, I know it is the right one for me and I can’t wait to experience Jordan in all its beauty.  My classes at the University of Jordan sound fascinating and the extracurricular activities like volunteering and language clubs will be a great way to meet and make friends with Jordanians.  I smile when I even think about it.

I am getting ahead of myself though.  After all, I still need to buy my plane ticket and get my visa.  It is still hard to believe I am actually going.  It seems that for once I will be wishing summer would go by even quicker!