My friends and family have had a difficult time understanding why I chose to study in Jordan. Television news has propagated the idea that the region is hysteric and chaotic, which has in turn fueled my family’s concern about my safety. Leaving aside the obvious insult that they think I’m unable to take care of myself, I have tried to be very clear that the reason I choose to study in the Middle East is precisely because of its kinetic situation. If it’s within my power to do something worthwhile, then I should be doing it. I’m not interested in sitting on the sidelines.
This in mind, one of my primary goals in the region is to visit refugee camps of Jordan. I’ve studied the United Nations for the last year, and am very interested in seeing how the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees implements actual refugee care in Jordan, which has registered nearly 630,000 refugees. I have a small video camera, with which I will document the refugee camps as thoroughly as I am able.
Moreover, if my fellow service-members will be required to continue fighting in the Middle East, then I feel compelled to understand why. Almost 4,500 Americans were killed in Iraq, more than 32,000 wounded, and countless more suffer post-conflict trauma. It’s simply not acceptable for me to be ignorant about this area.
These thoughts have stymied any hesitation I’ve had. I may feel a twinge of nervousness as I pack, or as I think about being away from my fiancé, but these are drowned out by my sense of responsibility. I plan to learn as much as I can, I plan to have fun, but I also plan to see for myself what the world is willing to do for people in need.