All Great Study Abroad Adventures Must Come to and End…Or Do They (Arabic Adventure)

16 Aug

As I said in the last entry, this is a fantastic region! There are so many fascinating places to visit, as well as many historically significant places to see. Towards the end of July my program hosted an excursion to the Jordan River and the site where John baptized The Savior, Jesus Christ. We had an opportunity to walk to the edge of the river and see the Israeli side, where Greek and Russian tourists were conducting baptisms. Afterwards we visited the town of Madaba, known for its ancient mosaics. In Madaba you can find St. George’s Church, famous for its large Mosaic map of the Holy Land build into the floor of the church. This masterpiece gives us a depiction of the Old City of Jerusalem and surrounding areas such as the Garden of Gethsemane, Jericho, Bethlehem and the Dead Sea. The map is fairly accurate, considering that this mosaic was made sometime in the middle of the 6th century. We then went onto Mukawir, where Herod, known for ordering the death of John the Baptist built a magnificent palace on a high mount that now lays in ruin. We also stopped at Mount Nebo, The mount from which Moses was shown by God the location of the Promised Land, and was supposedly buried on or near there not long after. This was a fascinating excursion for religious history and significance, and also for the breathtaking view of the Dead Sea that can be found at the top of Mount Nebo. I recommend this trip if any of you decide to study in Jordan.

The program ended recently, but not without a hectic last 2 weeks of preparing for finals, packing to go home and cultural re-adjustment meetings (not for this guy haha!). The month of Ramadan began during the last week, where people here abstain from eating and drinking between sunrise and sunset. I chose not to, but several of my associates in the study program decided to participate in the fasting. Each night during the last week a different set of roommates in the apartment building prepared a break-the-fast meal for everyone, delicious! There are some really creative cooks in this program! I really saw a significant amount of improvement in my Arabic, not only in the classroom, but also in general conversations and transactions. I would highly recommend CIEE summer language program in Amman, Jordan. It’s so weird that it’s over now, but I am definitely glad that I am not going home yet. I will continue to study Arabic language and culture in Fez, Morocco during the fall semester. I will be living with a family in Amman until it is time to go there in September, hopefully working with volunteer organizations and going on some personal excursions.

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It’s about time to wrap this entry up, but before that I would like to present some facts and interesting info about Jordan. The proper title for Jordan is “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” and the current ruler is King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein. Upon the death of King Hussein, the eldest son, Abdullah, became King in 1999. King Abdullah is very influential and works to maintain good relations with other nations such as the United States. He has a very proactive approach to the politics of this nation and is well respected by the local population as well as other international leaders. He has a wide range of hobbies, including skydiving, scuba diving and car racing. He is also a science fiction fan as well as a huge fan of Star Trek. Now, I like star trek but not enough to be a trekkie. However, I did find it interesting that he has a brief cameo appearance in a Star Trek: Voyager episode. The man is awesome. He is even investing in a Star Trek theme park which will be built in Aqaba, scheduled to open in 2014. Here is a clip from the Voyager episode if anyone is interested.

Anyway, The CIEE-Amman: Arabic language program in Jordan is highly recommended. If you have any questions about it please feel free to email me at william.c.schulte@comcast.net. Stay tuned for more entries including fun facts, Jordanian survival tips, recent trip to Israel and the West Bank, and preparation for Morocco!

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