By: Howlader Nashara
I’m Howlader, a third year Arabic Studies major studying at the American University in Washington D.C, and I am spending my fall semester taking classes and interning in the beautiful country of Jordan. Through GoEnnounce, I will be sharing stories, insights, and advice about my time here. Feel free to follow along with my posts on Twitter using the hashtag #HowladerAbroad.
My journey getting here was really, really long since the friend I was traveling with and I decided to book a ticket that had two very long layovers. Our logic was that we would go out and see a city and then be back in time for our next flight! The first stop was in Zurich, Switzerland and it is a beautiful place (albeit very expensive). We enjoyed spending our day there and after our second flight, we were in Vienna, Austria. By this time, we had been traveling for nearly 24 hours and were exhausted. Sleeping in an airport or on planes is very romantic in theory, but in practice is pretty awful. Upon arriving in Vienna, we discovered that it was raining, and it was nighttime, so we spent the majority of our 12 hours in the airport instead of going out. Vienna’s airport is hands down the best airport I have ever been to because they have couches at all the gates specifically for sleeping (which, especially by this time, we were very grateful for). I would definitely recommend capitalizing on your journey by scheduling a layover to see a new place, but learn from my mistake and only take one stop! Two is definitely an overload and you might (you will) regret it.
Even though that feels like it was ages ago, I’ve only been away from home for a week now, and actually in Jordan for about 5 days. I’m studying with CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) at the Jordanian Institute of Diplomacy in Amman. Along with taking two language classes and two area studies courses, I’m also participating in the organizational internship program. I will be working with WeekdayRx Consulting, a non-profit organization that works to come up with creative solutions for today’s businesses. They are based in Seattle and Amman, and the work here in Amman is primarily associated with humanitarian causes. My job for the semester will be to implement Girl Scout programs for girls in Amman, and if you’ve spoken to me at all, I am really, really excited about this.
Additionally, I’m living in a homestay. Two summers ago I decided to take courses at the Arabic Language Institute of Fes in Morocco. There, I lived with a host family for the first time and loved it, so I decided to do it again! It is a uniquely valuable experience to live with people native to the country you’re studying in, because not only do your language skills improve dramatically through constant practice, but it also gives you an insight into how your host culture views you and the world. My roommate and I are so grateful about how kind and considerate our family has been to us these past few days. I have consistently lucked out because I’ve heard plenty of homestay horror stories, and so far, both of mine have been wonderful. I would recommend homestays to all study abroad students that have the option to do so!
It’s hard to believe I have four more months in this beautiful country with the most beautiful people. I’m constantly asked why I decided to go to the Middle East and whether I’m afraid of it, but as nontraditional of a study abroad destination as this is, I feel fine. It’s much more difficult culture to adapt to but the payoff is totally worth it (look at the pictures and you’ll understand). I’m excited to share my insights on this, interning abroad, my homestay, and more in the coming few months! In the meantime, enjoy some pictures of Roman Citadel and Amphitheater in Amman!
Ma’salaama (Bye!) for now and stay tuned for my next post and follow #HowladerAbroad on GoEnnounce and Twitter!
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