My Summer in Jordan
This summer I participated in a study abroad program in Amman, Jordan. I had never been to Jordan, but I have lived and had experienced travelling to different countries in the Middle East. Still, I had no idea what to expect from my time in Jordan, but I was excited.
A big reason I chose Jordan was the fact that I come from an Egyptian family, but since I grew up for most of my life in small towns in the U.S., I rarely got to be around people from similar backgrounds. I was really interested to see if I would be able to communicate with people in Jordan with my limited Arabic, and very eager to better get to know the culture.
Upon arriving in Jordan, I very quickly learned that Jordan is like a melting pot of Middle Eastern countries around it, including Egypt. And my limited Arabic was more than enough to help me communicate with locals. These realizations made me confident and even more interested in learning about the beautiful country I was visiting. Being surrounded by people who come from a similar culture as mine was such an amazing experience; some of my favorite day-to-day experiences were just conversing with locals at markets and different sites. Even though I was halfway across the world, I felt at home.
"Being surrounded by people who come from a similar culture as mine was such an amazing experience; some of my favorite day-to-day experiences were just conversing with locals at markets and different sites. Even though I was halfway across the world, I felt at home."
I also had the opportunity to live with a host family, and that was a wonderful experience as well. Another one of my favorite memories was celebrating Eid with my host family and their relatives. Eid is a holiday I have always celebrated, but obviously getting to celebrate in a country where everyone around me was also celebrating made the experience so much better. Another fun part of my trip was the fact that most of my peers in the study abroad program were not Arab, and therefore didn’t know much about the culture and language, and I really enjoyed getting to talk to classmates about what I knew and help them make their way around Amman.
The program I participated in, Counseling and Humanitarian Action, was also extremely beneficial to my professional interests and was a tremendous experience on its own. The expeditions we got to go on were amazing as well, from Petra to the Dead Sea and more, we had an amazing time visiting all of Jordan's most popular tourist sites and learned a lot about the country’s history.
Overall, my summer was one to remember. I learned so much about myself, the beautiful culture in Jordan, and I completed an incredible internship where I learned so much and got to participate in experiences I could not have imagined; I have no doubt that my identity made my experience so much richer. I feel like the experience had an impact on my identity; I feel much closer to the culture I grew up with and the language I speak at home. It was an awesome experience!
Dean Omar (human physiology major), a Diversity Ambassador Scholarship recipient, participated in the SIT Counseling and Humanitarian Action in Jordan program in summer 2022.
The Diversity Ambassador Scholarship program provides awards to study abroad for a summer, semester, or academic year. The scholarships are intended to support the diversification of students who study abroad. Upon completion of the study abroad program and return to UI, award recipients are asked to submit a photo and an open letter to prospective students or suggest an alternate means of sharing with prospective students.
Please note that the opinions and views expressed by diversity ambassadors are solely those of the students and do not reflect or represent the views of International Programs or the University of Iowa.
International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement. IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.