I have officially been in Jordan for 2 months. It has been a roller coaster ride through and through. As I reflect, I recount two lessons that I have been faced with mastering and I will keep trying to advance in.
I’m sure I’ve discussed this before, but communication it something I struggle with in any language. In English I find myself struggling to speak up regarding my opinions due to a fear of lack of knowledge and thereby being wrong. I fear being viewed as incompetent and silence is my preferred method of aversion. However, there are times in which I remember a woman from my church telling me, that it doesn’t matter if you ask a “dumb question” at least you asked and now you know the answer.
I know that my fear of incompetence has hindered my academic growth. That is why this lesson persists through out my time here. I am sure I will continue to grapple with speaking up throughout my internship period which begins on November 11th, 2018. I will be interning with an economic consulting firm, and I am sure that there will be concepts that I am not familiar with. As I go through this process, I intend to be diligent about speaking up during moments of confusion and overcoming my fear of being wrong.
This struggle with speaking up also extends into my Arabic. Now that lessons are over, it is an independent journey (for the most part) to expand my Arabic skills. Fortunately, I have made friends with people who all are advanced in Arabic and every chance while we are in public, they encourage me to speak in Arabic. When asking for directions, or clarification at restaurants they constantly advise me on what I should say and proper pronunciation.
It is intimidating due to my limited skills, and the importance of pronunciation in the language, however it is helpful. I can now tell the difference when the pronunciation requires a strong “ha” and a “kha”. With practice, I am sure my fear of being misunderstood in Arabic or English will fade.
The current regret that I have thus far in this experience my limited independent travels. I tend to travel in groups for the better part of my time abroad. However, my interest or financial capabilities tend to conflict with my group. I have concluded that I have to do some things alone. Traveling in groups is safer, however if that becomes my sole experience, it can become a hindrance.
I am currently seeking out opportunities to travel (locally) alone. So far, I took an afternoon alone to walk around in Downtown Amman. It was beautiful and peaceful. This offered me the opportunity to explore at my own pace and navigate language barriers on my own.