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!