I have been in Amman for over a week now and started classes this past Sunday. This past week has been filled with orientation, conversing with my host family, and getting to know fellow classmates in my program. During my first night in Amman, I met my host family and shared our first dinner. The following morning I had breakfast with my host mom followed by taking my first taxi to the CIEE’s study center.
Orientation lasts for four days, and included topics on navigating the city, the program overview, small tours around downtown Amman, and other logistical topics. Our first day in Amman included a scavenger hunt around the university street that CIEE is located at. I familiarized myself with the many food options in the area, ranging from McDonald’s and Popeyes to small shawarma and falafel shops.
During our downtown tour, we visited two historical sites. Firstly, we toured the Citadel, located in the heart of Amman which contains artifacts and structures from the Roman period and the Iron Age. One of the structures is The Temple of Hercules, one of the oldest historical structures in the city. Secondly, the Roman theatre is one of the largest historic sites in the city. It is currently used for concerts and other social gatherings during the summer. The Citadel has a captivating view of downtown Amman, including the great Roman theatre that seats up to 6,000.
Muslim identity in Amman
One reason why I wanted to study in Amman was due to the fact that Jordan is a Muslim-majority country. During my first morning, I was pleased to wake up to the morning call (adhan) to prayer, where unlike in the U.S., I rely on my phone to tell me the time for prayer. It made me realized how special it is to hear a live adhan five times throughout the day. There are also street signs all over the city with Islamic phrases and invocations. Additionally, I live 3 minutes away from a mosque and attended my first Friday prayer. It was beautiful to walk to the masjid and pray with the families around my neighborhood.
Overall, I am meeting a lot of new people both within the program as well as my host family’s extended family. My classes are going well so far, though I have a lot of vocabulary and grammar to review! My next few weeks entail catching up on Arabic vocab along with visiting local shops and sites in downtown.