Four days in Amman and I feel like I have already done so much! I arrived safely early Sunday morning without any problems with my flights. For the rest of the day, I slept and enjoyed the hotel buffet. I only had one thing to do all day, which was a Skype interview with one of the organizations I applied to intern with here in Amman. It went well I think and hopefully I will hear back soon.
On Monday, the action started. We spent our first day touring parts of Amman. The city was way more beautiful than I imagined, especially from on top of one of its many hills. You can see building after building, all with the same limestone façade (or at least white paint to fake it) for miles. And, right in the heart of downtown are some amazing ruins. First we went to the Roman Theater, which was built by, you guessed it, the Romans. It had some cool acoustic effects and a great view from the top and was it great shape considering it was built in the 2nd century.
Then we drove up to the Amman Citadel, which had ruins from different societies that lived in Amman including the Ammonites, the Romans, and Muslim settlers. The ruins on the citadel included an old church, a mosque with a beautiful dome and even Turkish baths. However, my favorite was the temple of Hercules, which was also built by the Romans.
I think what amazed me most was that this citadel was its location in the middle of a big city like Amman. Its location made it the perfect vantage point to see the rest of the city, including the biggest flag in the world (according to our guide, although that does not seem to be corroborated by the internet).
Yesterday I moved into my host family’s home. Another student from the program is living with me and there are several others right next door, which is great for carpooling, studying, and even socializing with our Jordanian hosts. Although the family speaks English fluently, I want to try to speak as much Arabic as I can because, after all, that is the main reason I am here. Other than the chance to speak Arabic, I already know that a host family was the way to go because of the food. Our first meal was excellent with lentil soup, salad, rice, and Indian kebabs. I have no doubt I will love living here!
And today I finally got to go to my new university, the University of Jordan. In some ways, it is actually like UW. There are about 40,000 students, it is an urban campus, and it is the biggest and oldest university in Jordan. It also has a really nice campus with tons of trees, although it is smaller than our campus. We took our Arabic placement test there today in addition to our campus tour, and tomorrow, I find out what my schedule will be.
I can’t believe so much has happened in the past four days. I am having trouble believing I am really in the Middle East, although the call to prayer that can be heard clearly from my new room is a beautiful reminder throughout the day. I am looking forward to getting my schedule tomorrow and starting classes Sunday. If my first few days have been this exciting, I can only imagine how the rest of my semester will go!