Middle East Semester

The Fertile Crescent

A 3-Month Gap Year Program

Enroll
Duration
83 Days
Description

Unravel the complex narratives of the modern-day Middle East: live with a Bedouin family, engage with development experts in Amman, study resource scarcity.

Spring Dates

Feb 7 - May 1, 2018


Spring Availability

closed

Fall Dates

Sep 15 - Dec 6, 2018


Fall Availability

closed

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

17-22

Spring Begins In

17 Weeks

Fall Begins In

48 Weeks

Land Cost

$14,210


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,925

Wadi Rum

Madaba

Amman

Aqaba

Program Overview

Stand on the shores of the Dead Sea and recount stories from the Old Testament as you gaze across the incredible expanse of Jordan’s Rift Valley.


Hike up to the ancient citadel in the center of Amman, and count the construction cranes silhouetted against the evening sky. Walk through famous Souk Jara on Friday night and take your pick of succulent medjool dates, traditional shemagh and pirated DVDs. The tension between tradition and modernity is ever-present in the storied land of the Levant. Students on Dragons’ Middle East Semester will have the opportunity to delve into the complex history of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, while considering how resource scarcity and human migration are shaping the modern Middle East.

Our semester begins in the small villages of Desa and Tweisi just outside the Wadi Rum desert. Bedouin families welcome us into their homes for the first few weeks of course, offering students a unique window into modern-day Bedouin life. We begin daily Arabic lessons while local mentors help students initiate their independent study projects (ISPs): topics may include dhobka – a traditional Jordanian dance,…

Hike up to the ancient citadel in the center of Amman, and count the construction cranes silhouetted against the evening sky. Walk through famous Souk Jara on Friday night and take your pick of succulent medjool dates, traditional shemagh and pirated DVDs. The tension between tradition and modernity is ever-present in the storied land of the Levant. Students on Dragons’ Middle East Semester will have the opportunity to delve into the complex history of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, while considering how resource scarcity and human migration are shaping the modern Middle East.

Our semester begins in the small villages of Desa and Tweisi just outside the Wadi Rum desert. Bedouin families welcome us into their homes for the first few weeks of course, offering students a unique window into modern-day Bedouin life. We begin daily Arabic lessons while local mentors help students initiate their independent study projects (ISPs): topics may include dhobka – a traditional Jordanian dance, falconry, Bedouin law, or an inquiry into cultural narratives on gender, to name a few.

Trading desert-scapes for metropolitan streets, our group travels north to Amman for an urban home-stay. Here, we draw on a robust network of contacts within the development sector and the local arts scene to add perspective to our conversation about what it means to be Jordanian today. We continue our study of Arabic, drawing on resources at the University of Jordan. And we participate in an extended learning service project.

The final weeks of course are a student-led expedition. This provides the group a unique opportunity to delve further into a specific course topic, perhaps working alongside recently resettled Syrian refugees in Irbid; exploring the ancient city of Petra; or interviewing Christian pilgrims amidst the interfaith community in Madaba.

This course itinerary is designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of Jordan today, drawing on the complex narratives of Palestinian, Syrian, and Iraqi refugees to add breadth to the conversation. Students develop their Arabic language skill, and are schooled on practices in non-violent communication and expedition planning.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

5/5
Comparative Religion

Investigate the culture, practices and philosophy of contemporary and historical Islam within the context of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

5/5
Development Studies

Explore the successes and challenges of the Levant’s current and past political systems, learn about regional work with women's issues, investigate the issues of water management and land-use, hear about regional government and press, and consider the significant effects of tourism across the region.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Study ongoing shifts in traditional cultures, water resource management, peace studies, women’s issues, contemporary Middle Eastern politics.

4/5
Home Stay

Spend three weeks in arural home-stay in southern Bedouin (indigenous) desert areas, five days in a rural Bedouin village near Petra, and five days in the Christian town of Madaba.

5/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Dive deeper into a contemporary or historical topic of your choice through mentored or self-directed study.

5/5
Language Study

Study colloquial dialects of Arabic through daily instruction and and language immersion throughout.

1/5
Learning Service

Volunteer with local associations to identify and carry out service projects with local schools, cooperatives, and youth groups.

3/5
Rugged Travel

Explore Jordan by bus, off-road 4WD, camel, collective taxi and van travel. Extensive trekking and camping in desert areas of southern Jordan.

2/5
Trekking

Trek for three days along Lawrence of Arabia’s road to Aqaba and two days through the desert along the Jordan Valley, with a possible five day trek with camels from Wadi Rum to Petra.

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