I have officially been in Jordan for one month. Throughout this month I have learned quite a few things about the world, myself, and politics.
Throughout my academic journey in politics, I have often been reminded of the importance of a globalized society. Though I have previously experienced the shock of how important the decisions made by the US are to the rest of the world, living in Jordan has once again reignited that same shock. Throughout my time here, the US has decided to cut funding to UNRWA, Israel has decided to remove UNRWA, and a alleged sexual predator was made a supreme court justice in the states.
I cannot imagine I would have noticed just how important the UNRWA decision was if I wasn’t in Jordan at this very moment. The people here are extremely upset over the decision by Israel, which can be interpreted as a move emboldened by the US rescinding funding. Since this move by Israel there have been protests downtown. This could be considered normal, since due to the economic state of Jordan there has been a progressive increase in protests throughout the year.
The reality that has set in from my education here is that Jordan’s economy is directly linked to the international community and heavily dependent on the US. Experiencing this has caused me to reevaluate my understanding of global citizenship.
During my time here, I have found myself coming to appreciate the differences that make me feel like an outsider in Jordan. Though this is the Middle East, and is often portrayed as an entirely different world, I find myself often overwhelmed by the similarities to the states. Many people here speak English, and are taught English in schools as preparation for the SAT’s.
Cars can be found blasting American rap music while driving down the street, food is still something that brings people together. More importantly, this is still a place where the day hasn’t started if one hasn’t had their coffee. There are often more similarities than differences as a result of living in a globalized society.
The differences can be found in the deeper cultural norm of life here. The call to prayer during which you can find anyone in a café, at work or in school pulling out their prayer mat to pray when the call sounds throughout the neighborhood. Or when driving, there are peddlers selling coffee in the middle of traffic with a portable coffee maker on their backs. The friendliness and generosity culture is exhibited through the freedom of taxi drivers to ask strangers for directions. Furthered by the appreciation of locals to always say thank you, and “Welcome to Jordan” after most interactions.
This has caused me to examine the beauty of global citizenship, and the detriments of globalization. Though we have become all the more connected, I fear we may lose the beauty of our differences.
Understanding my own limitations as a leader, an intellectual, an asocial creature has been interesting. In this time I have done self examination and regarding my learning habits, and my willingness to share ideas. I have come across opportunities to voice my own perspectives and shied away from them. I have been able to converse with people from various backgrounds and experiences and learned so much from my peers about their world views and expectations for life.
The short time I have been here has offered me the opportunity to reflect on what my passions are, what I am willing to lead in and to come to have confidence in my own intellect.