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Since coming to Jordan, I have met some interesting people, both in and out of my program. Here are some of the interactions and the ways they have impacted me thus far:

In the program:

The friends I have made come from different backgrounds, and for the most part attend different universities.

One of my friends has been nicknamed Olivia Pope by other students in our program, due to her strong personality and take-charge attitude. She has been a great help to my growth in Arabic and learning experience in the region. Despite how much knowledge I thought I had about the region, she knew far more about the region than most people in our program did.

Another friend that I have made has helped me adjust through her relaxed attitude about education. Her confidence in her capability and future is admirable. She has challenged me to think about my understanding of life and has been a kindred spirit.

My last friend from the program is carefree and as sweet as can be. She has a very childlike and happy go lucky nature about her that is also admirable. Her personality is always very comforting to be around.

The one thing these friends have in common is their ambition, and wonderful personalities. Whether introverted or extroverted, I have been able to relate to all of them well.

The Lesson:

However, upon meeting them I felt inferior. They all seemed so put together, and very smart, well socialized. Despite being friends with them I often felt intimidated by them. I felt inferior, though I knew these women are good friends to keep. Their views and experiences in life were vastly different than my own and their ambitiousness for success and making an impact gave me pause to reflect on where I’m going in my college career.

Being friends with them has afforded me encouragement, and enlightenment. Instead of shying away, and being overwhelmed by my feelings of inferiority, I took this as an opportunity to learn from them. In my reflection I have learned to accept things about myself and begun to truly deal with feelings of inferiority in academic and social situations.

Outside of the program:

The other opportunities I have had to socialize outside of my program have afforded me interesting experiences. When I first arrived, an ex-patriot from Australia assisted me when trying to get the Wi-Fi password. Since then I regularly interact with him, with simple greetings. But upon further interaction and due to observation while in the coffee shop, I learned something interesting.

This man is an agricultural consultant for the country and has been for various countries in the region. His insight on the country, was interesting, considering he isn’t Jordanian, a refugee and holds a position of power.

Another man I met, was during my time in Downtown alone. I was lost and coerced into entering a shop that I didn’t want to buy anything from. While looking around, I met one of the workers and he helped me find an item for a family member back home.He helped me by leading me through downtown, negotiating a price for an item in Arabic, and getting me a taxi home.

I found out that he has lived in Jordan since he was fourteen and is Iraqi-Palestinian. He never finished secondary school, and still doesn’t know much about Jordan due to the copious amount of time he spends at work.

The Lesson:

The reality of these two interactions only hit me upon further reflection of how deeply international decisions impact everyday people.When we are watching the news, buying products, and going through our daily lives we tend to forget the intersection of large scale decisions and necessities on individuals.

The decisions we make are constantly reshaping our reality. It was Jordan’s need for meat, that drew one man here, and the need for safety that drew another.Though those two men may never meet they both comprise parts of the identity that is Jordan.