Jordan

Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity

A 4-week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
30 Days
Description

Examine the tension between traditions and modernity by engaging with local communities in home-stays, independent study projects and critical conversations about sustainable development.

Dates

Jun 28 - Jul 28, 2017


Suggested Ages

16-19

Number of Participants

12


Availability

closed

Begins In

14 Weeks

Land Cost

$7,905


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,175

Amman

Madaba

Aqaba

wadi rum

Program Overview

A Bedouin in traditional red shamagh sends text messages from his iPhone.


A camel drinks water out of a recycled Nestlé bottle. Pedestrians queue outside of KFC, just after Friday prayers. The world certainly isn’t flat; if anything, it’s textured by the intersection of traditional values and modern consumerism; footprints of strong family connection and the demands of global population growth. Consider a history of colonial exploitation followed by decades of regional unrest and forced migrations on top of that, and you’ve found yourself at the epicenter of a hot conversation about human migration, state-building and resource preservation in the modern-day Levant. We hope that by the end of four weeks, students will cease to see these as contradictory images, but rather as pieces of an infinitely intricate dynamic to which we, as humans, all belong.

Our journey begins in the heart of the Wadi Rum desert, where our Bedouin guides host a traditional goat roast beneath a sea of stars….

A camel drinks water out of a recycled Nestlé bottle. Pedestrians queue outside of KFC, just after Friday prayers. The world certainly isn’t flat; if anything, it’s textured by the intersection of traditional values and modern consumerism; footprints of strong family connection and the demands of global population growth. Consider a history of colonial exploitation followed by decades of regional unrest and forced migrations on top of that, and you’ve found yourself at the epicenter of a hot conversation about human migration, state-building and resource preservation in the modern-day Levant. We hope that by the end of four weeks, students will cease to see these as contradictory images, but rather as pieces of an infinitely intricate dynamic to which we, as humans, all belong.

Our journey begins in the heart of the Wadi Rum desert, where our Bedouin guides host a traditional goat roast beneath a sea of stars. A four-day trek leads us along Lawrence of Arabia’s famed path, as we rise with the sun, study Arabic in the heat of the day, and play sija in the late afternoon. We spend our final day in the desert with nomadic families, learning the proper way to herd goats and make shrak bread over a curved metal griddle. This early immersion provides us with a deeper connection to traditional Bedouin life.

Walking out of the desert, we board a bus for Wadi Musa. This small city sits adjacent Petra, the ancient Nabatean city, and we spend two days there, taking our time to fully appreciate the ruins of a city that, at its height, stretched over 400 square miles. This will also be our first venture into a city, and we’ll begin learning how to ride public transport and order our favorite dishes in Arabic. We will reflect on the impact of tourism on Jordan, and how we experience the many forms of global consumerism as visitors and guests in this place.

Leaving desert-scapes for metropolitan streets, the group travels north to Amman for an extended urban home-stay. Here, we settle into a rhythm, meeting at The University of Jordan for Arabic lessons each morning and immersing ourselves in the diverse conversations that characterize Jordan’s capital city each afternoon. Instructors draw on a robust network of contacts within the development sector and the local arts scene to add perspective to our conversation about “What does it mean to be Jordanian today?” and “What role have we, as outsiders, played in shaping the current Jordanian climate?”

Once we’ve had our fill of the city, we will embark on an expedition led entirely by the students. Students will arrange transport, book hotels, and investigate food options in the town of Madaba, where we will spend two days. Perched next to Mount Nebo, one of the holiest sites in the three abrahamic religions and home to the largest Christian population in Jordan, we will visit old churches while the call to prayer rings out over the cobblestone streets. We will look closer at issues of religion, history, and Jordanian social life as we learn about spiritual traditions by day and sip tea by night.

Traveling back to the deserts of Wadi Rum, we come to rest for our final home-stay in the villages of Desa and Tweisi. Here, students build a unique relationship with village life, both by bonding with their home-stay siblings and by joining local mentors to complete independent study projects (ISPs). Students may study dabka, traditional Jordanian dance; visit the local mosque; or meet with a Women’s Cooperative to learn about cultural narratives on gender.

Students interested in honing their language skills while diving into a complex collage of identity politics will do well on this four-week immersion in the Levant.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

5/5
Comparative Religion

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

5/5
Development Studies

Learn about the successes and challenges of Jordan’s current and past political systems, regional work with health, environment, women's issues, water management and land-use, regional government and press, and the significant effects of tourism across the region.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Study language, culture and religion, historical and current political systems and their impact on Jordanian society.

3/5
Home Stay

Spend time in a unique desert nomad stay, with opportunities for additional urban and village homestays.

3/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Dive deeper into a topic of your choice through mentored study throughout the program.

5/5
Language Study

Study colloquial Jordanian through daily lessons emphasizing oral, verbal and cultural communication skills.

1/5
Learning Service

Reflect on community issues, reciprocity, and the meaning of service during rural homestays.

1/5
Rugged Travel

Travel overland through Jordan on slightly rugged bus and 4WD travel and spend time living in rural homestay communities.

2/5
Trekking

Embark on a mildly challenging trek through the desert en route to a Bedouin community and enjoy day hikes dispersed throughout the course.

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