Five days

I am studying like crazy and trying to finish packing before Thursday!! The whole thing is starting to feel much more real now. I have been very nervous up until this week, but lately all those nerves are disappearing and being replaced with just pure excitement and anticipation for this wonderful adventure….but I am not looking forward to my long flights.

Later today I should find out my housing assignment – who my host family is, where they live, and whether or not I will have a roommate. I can’t wait!

I’m also soaking up my last few days in America where I know my way around, I can drive, speak the language, and spend time with my friends and family (and dog). I’ll miss it but I can’t wait to have a new adventure. During the summer I often feel like my life is on pause, and I am so glad that soon I will have a lot of new challenges, be meeting a ton of new people, learning a lot, and moving forward with my goals! These last five days will be quite bittersweet.

Meals in the Middle East

ISA Study Abroad Student Blog

Harold Lyonsis a student at the University of Maine, Orono and an ISA Featured Blogger. Harold is currently studying abroad in Amman, Jordan on an ISA Fall 1 program.

The most affordable fruit stand in Amman.

The importance of food quickly became evident while attempting to acclimate to Jordanian culture. In the States, home cooking is usually a sign of hospitality. It seems as if hosts prepare lavish feasts in order to indirectly boast of their means. In Jordan, exceptional cooking is an obligation ingrained into their very culture.

Food is quite affordable in Amman. In what I thought was a bizarre cosmic joke, I realized the healthier, more authentic Arabic food is cheaper than America’s fast-food counterparts. Luckily for me, American food is viewed as somewhat of a delicacy. For example, Pizza Hut is much more expensive than most of the Jordanian restaurants in the area…

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Assimilation in Amman

Glad I read this quick article about a few things to expect in Amman! Can’t wait to experience them myself.

ISA Study Abroad Student Blog

Harold Lyonsis a student at the University of Maine, Orono and an ISA Featured Blogger. Harold is currently studying abroad in Amman, Jordan on an ISA Fall 1 program.

I grew up on small island off of the coast of Maine. With a population of 700 people, it is a far cry from Amman, a Middle Eastern cultural hub of 2.8 million. I have traveled to urban centers in the United States, but nothing compares to Amman. Needless to say, I was not sure what to expect when I arrived at Queen Alia International Airport. The first week has been a learning experience that started the second I got off of the plane. Did you know Jordanians do not believe in forming lines? I spent close to 15 minutes with Jordanians passing me left and right at the baggage claim before I realized they weren’t being rude…

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A Photo Tour Through Old Amman

Getting so psyched to leave for Amman in just 10 days!

ISA Study Abroad Student Blog

Luca Azzara is a student at Montclair State Universityand an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. He is currently studying and participating in service-learning abroad with ISA in Amman, Jordan.

Rainbow Street, Amman, Jordan This beautiful stairway is located among one of Amman’s thriving metropolitical streets, known as Rainbow Street.

What I like to refer to as “The Modern Antiquity”, the city of Amman offers a clash between contemporary notions and antique culture. Alongside its booming metropolitan downtown region, ironically referred to as ‘Al-Balad’ or The Old Country, Jordan’s capital is home to a number of ancient sites renowned across the globe.

The Amman Citadel, located on ‘Jabal Al-Qala’a’, or The Castle Mountain, serves as a focal point throughout all of downtown Amman. From the Assyrians, to the Babylonians, to the Persians, and finally the Muslims, each of the civilizations that have previously occupied the region left behind their own shreds of influence that…

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Mosaic of the modern & traditional: a peek into Jordanian culture

26 days.  Stretching them out as much as I can…

I am continuing to put off packing by doing anything else before this trip… studying for the GRE, working, writing these posts, and trying to keep up my Arabic as much as I can.  In addition to trying to practice speaking and listening daily, I’ve also been trying to review some of the most important grammatical structures I’ve learned.  It is so difficult to keep in practice with a new language!  But hopefully my hours of studying over the years & my daily reviews will help me to communicate at even a basic level in Amman – and hopefully this experience will increase my language skills exponentially.

However, this post will be more about the things that usually fascinate me the most about travelling: learning more about local history, traditions, fashions, expectations, cuisines, social behaviors, family relationships, etc.  These things just scratch the surface of how a deep and rich culture of a country like Jordan’s manifests itself day to day and is obvious to an outsider like me.  I hope that by researching and writing about these things before I might experience them will help me to be more aware of the motivations & reasons behind them and my own reactions to them as an American.  I hope that this will help me to gain a more meaningful understanding of the parts of Jordan’s culture that I will observe, as well as deepen my awareness of my own culture, and how it affects my perspectives.

Jordanian Culture

Jordan’s geographic position at the intersection of three continents has contributed to its development of a diverse and rich culture, characterized by Arab & Islamic influences as well as exposure to Western ideas and practices.  This diversity of culture is particularly visible in Amman, as over 60 percent of Jordan’s culture resides there.  Other populations include the Bedouins, a semi-nomadic group of tribes who have historically inhabited the Levantine deserts, and share a common culture.

One of many sources of Westernization in Jordan can be traced to the heavy political and economic influence exercised there by the United States as well as the United Kingdom, through important trade links as well as interests in Jordan’s relationship with its neighbors; namely, Israel, Palestine, and now Syria.

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