CET Jordan: Internship

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Looking for practical experience in the Middle East? CET Jordan: Internship includes a placement at one of Amman’s many businesses and organizations. You'll also also take intensive Arabic language classes (with an official Oral Proficiency Interview at the end of the term to see how far you've progressed) and a Middle East studies elective taught in English—with topics ranging from the refugee crisis to archaeology. From local roommates and Arabic language partners to supportive faculty and staff, the program is designed to help you improve language skills and get to know the Arab world. A highlight is the 3-day retreat to Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea. This program is for students of all Arabic language levels, even absolute beginners.

  • Internship + intensive Arabic language course + elective
  • Official Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) score—perfect for job and school applications
  • English-taught electives
  • Limited language pledge
  • Local Jordanian roommates + Arabic language partners

Questions & Answers

I'm not sure about the full semester, but during the summer program there is a long weekend in the middle of the semester where parents could spend time with students. Students have to move out of the apartments on the last day of the program, so if you wanted to stay longer with your parents you would have to figure out other accommodations.


9.38 Rating
based on 8 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 87.5%
  • 7-8 rating 12.5%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 7.8
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 8.6
  • Housing 9.1
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 8 of 8
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Yes, I recommend this program

Interning in Amman, Jordan

I chose to participate in this program after spending a semester with CET Jordan: Intensive Language. The language program is very academically oriented, which really helped my language skills to improve, but I wanted to see a different side of life in Jordan and felt that the internship program would give me that chance. I interned with the National Association for Family Empowerment, which was a Jordanian non-profit organization focused on economic and social empowerment for women and youth in Jordan. The internship ended up being somewhat frustrating because there was hardly any work for me to do. Despite talking with the organization's director about projects or tasks I could carry out, I never got assigned enough work. CET staff spoke with the organization multiple times, and when they realized that wasn't doing anything, they worked with me to create an alternative schedule and study plan to make sure I was still maximizing on my time in Jordan. I was very grateful to have their support when my internship placement did not live up to my expectations.

For students who are really dedicated to learning Arabic, I would suggest doing the language program. Students in the internship program have Arabic language classes, but half of the coursework is in English, and most internship placements hope to use the interns' English knowledge. However, this program still allowed me to grow a lot linguistically because I got the chance to interact with Jordanians who were not my age and pick up on more slang and idioms. I also loved seeing what a workplace was like in another country and learning about the obstacles that non-profit organizations face if they are not American, Canadian, or European and need to acquire funding. Finally, my internship enabled me to explore more of the city and the country as I had a reason to go to neighborhoods and other cities that I would not have seen otherwise.

What would you improve about this program?
The internship placement process felt a bit arbitrary and I know that some students did not understand how they were placed in their internships. Also, not everyone enjoyed their internships. However, I think it is important for students to go into this program keeping in mind that the concept of an internship for an undergraduate student is very American, and it does not have a big role in Jordanian education or career development.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Krista Schaefer Program Review

Great program- perhaps overpriced, but the support is nice to have and some aspects of the program (language partner, roommate in apartment) are ingenious and well executed. The internship class was hardly a class and had some major flaws- I don't think our teacher even read the class syllabus as we did almost nothing on there- but I understand the primary teacher was missing and our filling teacher did give us some intriguing insight on life and culture in Jordan as he was at the top of a powerful tribe. Still though, it did not qualify as a college level course by any means.
The class should be slightly more intensive- I really didn't understand the need for three cooking days (learned a lot the first day, not a lot the second two) and the short trip was hardly a class. I thought the orientation was a little excessive and we could have started class and roommate/language partner relations sooner as the program is already so short. My internship was absolutely incredible. I wasn't sure how the internship placement was determined as some of my friends were doing exactly what they had emphasized they didn't want to do, but it worked out great for me. My Jordanian roommate and language partner were also wonderful.

What would you improve about this program?
The internship course- have a teacher who follows at least most (or even half) of the syllabus
less cooking classes (one is fine. three is two too many)
slightly more homework- half hour a day maybe. maybe a larger assignment once a week.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Value of Immersion

CET really understands the value of cultural and linguistic immersion, and I felt that the program tried to immerse students as much as possible into the Jordanian community. Each student has a Jordanian roommate, and my roommate became one of my lifelong friends very quickly, taking me to visit her family every weekend outside of Amman - they were all welcoming, and didn't speak English, so it was a wonderful way to begin practicing Arabic rather quickly. Additionally, it is very easy to make friends with other roommates living in the building - I found that almost all roommates were happy to spend time with CET students, for tea, to help with homework, or just to talk. I entered the program with a fairly low level of Arabic, but the learning curve was very steep thanks to constant practice.

CET provides many other opportunities for conversational practice: students meet with language partners regularly, and there are also teacher's assistants in every class. There are often days when students are paired up with assistants to practice speaking on a certain topic. The class sizes are small, so the student-teacher ratio is very good, and the student-teacher's assistant ratio was almost 1:1 in my class. Furthermore, teacher's assistants are usually students at the University of Jordan, so it is a great way to make friends and learn more about the community. The classes themselves were interactive, and used a diverse range of methods to develop listening, speaking, and reading skills.

Most of the blocks for linguistic progress and cultural immersion came from CET students themselves. Often, they didn't stick to the language pledge, and stuck together rather than branching out to get to know Jordanians. CET's summer program was an incredibly meaningful experience for me, and after just two months I felt completely comfortable and able to take a taxi in Arabic, talk about myself/my life, talk about culture and women's rights, and banter in the fun and sassy Arab way : ) However, I rarely spent time with other students on the program - most of my time was spent with my roommate, her family, other CET roommates, language partners, or teacher's assistants. While this takes a lot of energy (and a fair amount of courage in the beginning, depending on your Arabic level), it made my experience so worthwhile, and I am still in touch with many of the friends I made during my time abroad.

If I were to return to study with CET again, I would study under the intensive language program rather than the internship program. While the internships may provide a good introduction to a specific field, it can be a gamble, because you won't necessarily be placed into the field you want to explore, and not all internships have a lot of work for internship students to do. Meanwhile, my classes were intensive and fast-paced, and my Arabic level probably would have sky-rocketed even more if I would have had an extra two days of classes per. week. That being said, I entered the program with more excitement for the language aspect than the internship aspect - I chose the internship program, only because my university provides funding for internships and it would have been impossible for me to enroll in the program without it. Some people had really meaningful experiences in their internships, one student even conducting their own research in hospitals, etc.

What would you improve about this program?
While CET really strives and excels to push students towards immersion, some of their rules impeded meaningful conversations between students and roommates, student teachers, and language partners. For example, students were discouraged from talking to their roommates about "politics, religion, and sex," while roommates, assistants, and language partners were expressly forbidden. While it is important to realize that cultural differences may make these topics sensitive, I feel like I got the richest possible cultural experience by having honest conversations with roommates and language partners, sometimes about the aforementioned topics. It's hard to form meaningful friendships when there are obligatory boundaries set, and there was also a lack of transparency, because students were not told by CET staff that these topics are "forbidden" to roommates and language partners. I also wish there would have been organized opportunities to meet the other roommates early on in the semester, because everyone was warm and friendly, and once I did meet the other roommates on the CET-organized trips, it was very easy to visit them and practice speaking, or just spend time and have tea.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A Great Opportunity

The trip is a great opportunity to improve your Arabic and familiarize yourself with Jordanian culture. You will see all kinds of wonderful parts of the country via CET guided trips, but the best chances for exploring will come by your own efforts. The easiest opportunities will come by befriending locals, using your language partners, and your local roommates.

The trip is really what you make it. Keeping the language pledge and getting out of Jubeiha is necessary. One of my favorite opportunities was visiting the home of my local roommate. We ate the traditional Jordanian dish Mansef and went to a Palestinian wedding afterwards. Everyone was so excited to share a piece of their life. Experiences like this don't happen in a classroom and all the connections that CET provides helps you find your own adventures.

What would you improve about this program?
Sometimes I heard that the language partners and roommates were afraid of the directors in CET. The firing of roommates were sometimes suspicious, and they were given warnings that one word in English could get them fired from the program. This is just anecdotal from a few of the partners, but it was alarming to hear that they felt so uncomfortable with their managers.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience filled with opportunities to learn

OVERALL: My experience in this program was positive. I learned much, had fun, and was challenged.

MY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES: I have been learning Arabic in some way or another for the previous ten years, much of which included learning dialects, so I was ahead of the curve in regards to the language portion. I have informally studied abroad in both Egypt and previously in Jordan, meaning I went on my own and sought out a school. Each of those trips were a month long, whereas this trip was two months long.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW: The CET program as a whole is very encompassing, which is a great feature for anyone who has never been abroad or has little experience with the language or country they are traveling in. Both the internship and language classes include a long and short trip, language partners, and the experience to live with a Jordanian roommate. The academics include tests, cooking classes, research paper written in Arabic, and various presentations on topics, of which are usually chosen by the student.

The internship class includes some required reading materials, journal entries, an academic and experiential research paper on a topic related to your internship site, and an presentation on your site location.

Because there are many more reviews about the language classes on this site, and because there isn't much of a difference between the academics of the internship and intensive language classes, I will forego talking about it here. My overall experience with the academic portion was positive.

I interned at the Center for Women's Studies at the University of Jordan.

The good:
I enjoyed getting out of class and seeing other places. I got the opportunity to meet other people and hear some difference experiences and stories that I would not have heard otherwise.
I was able to "audit" master-level classes that were taught in Arabic. That was a neat experience.
I was able to help staff and students out with their research needs. Everyone was very nice.

The bad:
-The summer session is short, very little opportunity to contribute.
-Especially for academics, there was little going on. I would have had even less opportunities to do things if I didn't come with a good grasp of the language before.
-The work of the academics, report writing, and internship work can be conflicting and difficult to deal with. Some people, especially because of the shortened summer schedule, questioned whether the internship was actually worth it.

I read about the language pledge before coming to the program but didn't realize it was a cornerstone of the program. I personally really liked the language pledge and the challenges associated with it. I see others saying that it's requirements should be lessened for those with lower levels, but that seems backwards to me. The lower level students are the ones who benefit most from it. In addition, if that is something that detracts from this program, then go to another program! There are plenty of others. But, having heard from other students who came from other programs, they stated that CET was the most beneficial to them.

There will be groups of people who do not use the language pledge when they can avoid it. This can be frustrating. Set out what you want from this program and stick with the people who have similar goals.

What would you improve about this program?
I found the staff to be flexible, so whatever problems I had were resolved quickly. Despite various challenges and frustrations, I don't think there are suggestions I would make to improve the program itself.
The value of the summer internship (not saying anything of the other semesters' internships) was questioned in many students' mind because of how short it was. But, students are allowed to switch from the internship program to all academics if they wish (probably not the other way around), so this too, is solvable.

Bottom line is that students should consider what their ultimate goals are for studying abroad and pick the program that best suits those goals!
Yes, I recommend this program

Take advantage of every opportunity!

This was my third time in Jordan, having spent the previous two summers studying Arabic with another program. I think what I enjoyed most about CET was that I learned A LOT more about Jordanian culture-- something I previously thought I knew a lot about! The teachers and staff are really friendly and helpful. It's also great for people new to the region because upon arrival they pick you up from the airport and give you a SIM card with a Jordanian data and calling plan pre-loaded for a month. The apartments were clean and spacious. The neighborhood (al-Jubeiha) is nice, but boring. You have to take a taxi to get to the more lively areas of Amman, but it's cheap if you're splitting the fare with a person or two. The apartments are about a 10-15 minute walk to campus, which is convenient.

As far as academics, this was by far the most Arabic I've learned in a semester. Coming in, I would've never thought I could read Arabic books-- by the end of the semester I had read 2. My speaking and listening improved substantially as well, which were my weaknesses.
The content course, which is in English for internship students, was amazing. I felt like I was at my home university with intense and interesting lectures and discussions. I really enjoyed the internship seminar as well. It gave a great insight to more of Jordanian culture, especially in the work atmosphere.

I personally had a great internship experience. I worked in both English and Arabic and my duties varied day-to-day, with tasks such as: translation work, attending meetings and taking notes in Arabic and English, editing photos, conducting research, creating flyers, and assisting with trainings across the country.

There were only two things I disliked, the first being some of the rules (no outside visitors, females forbidden from male apartments after 11pm and vice versa, etc.) They seemed a little ridiculous and overbearing. However, as I understand these rules are set by the central CET office in DC, and that the Jordan staff had no control over them and just enforced them as they were told.

Secondly, because the classes were so intensive, I had little free time. Thankfully I had seen most of the city in my previous two visits to Jordan, but I still would have appreciated more time to explore and hang out with Jordanian friends instead of spending my weekends in a cafe studying. I feel like I managed my time well but still struggled to find a good amount of free time. I struggled to find time at the end of the semester to study for finals, pack all my things, and clean the apartment all at the same time. I think it would be great if they could have one 3-day weekend a month during the semester.

What would you improve about this program?
There needs to be more free time. The classes are really intense, so a few 3 day weekends throughout the semester would have been nice. I found myself staying in a lot more than I expected to complete assignments or study. I usually spent my weekends in a cafe writing essays or studying vocabulary rather than exploring the city.

Also, the internship options need to be reevaluated. I was lucky and had an amazing experience at my internship, but some others said they did nothing at all at their work and didn't benefit from it whatsoever.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Flexibility is Key

I tried to keep my expectations limited when going into my summer experience in Jordan, and that definitely helped me to adjust to the new culture and expectations. The housing was beautiful and in a safe location, but wifi was unreliable. Luckily there was a café nearby with great wifi in case ours went out. Since I was in the internship program, the plan was that I would have class Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and would be at the internship Monday and Wednesday. Since the first month of the program took place during Ramadan, however, most of the internships didn't begin until after the holy month had ended. By the time I actually got to work, I only spent a total of 8 days at my internship. There was also not much work for us to do since NEF was in between projects, and they did not really know what to do with us, so I think there was a lack of communication between CET and the other organizations. When we did get to work, however, we had a great time. We learned a lot about what the organization does and became great friends with our coworkers. The other students in the program were very supportive and we developed a great bond during our time there. The placement in classes was a little iffy, one guy transferred from my class to a lower level because they had placed him too high, and I was right on the edge in the advanced class. I definitely learned a lot, though. As I said, flexibility is key. Schedules changed and requirements were adapted so I really had to be on my toes to know what I was supposed to be doing. My original language partner dropped the program two weeks in, but my second one was incredible. She invited me to a party celebrating the birth of her cousin. That's one thing I really loved about CET, they provide you with a lot of opportunities to develop connections with people in the community and gain these rare and often personal insights into life in Amman. The language pledge was very frustrating, however, because not only were beginner students not able to converse with us for a few weeks until they learned enough words, but they would tell us we were breaking the pledge even if we weren't because they would forget who was in which program. I was often afraid I would be expelled simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or for trying to define a word for a beginner student using my own limited knowledge. It added an unnecessary amount of stress. Also, there was an "internship class" we attended once a week, but it was really more about Jordanian and Middle Eastern politics, which was fine for me because that's my area of study, but others complained that it felt like kind of a waste of time, especially after a full day of classes. Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and it has definitely expanded my comfort zone travel-wise. I am much more confident in myself, and I feel like this has opened the door to further travel either in the Middle East or elsewhere.

What would you improve about this program?
Relax the language pledge slightly, and communicate more (with the students, and also with the internship programs to make sure we actually have an internship to work in)
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Yes, I recommend this program

It had its ups and downs

I had the opportunity to intern and study in Amman. I interned 2 days out of the week and studied 3. It was awesome but one has to remember that an internship in a country like Jordan is not like an internship in a traditional internship destination. I was thankfully guided in this experience by the teaching and mentorship of Dr. Zubi AL Zubi, who was the dean of the University of Jordan's business department. He was incredible guide on the ins and outs of interning in a Muslim country. It was also somewhat difficult to communicate in a place where there are so many dialects of Arabic used, but eating was easy, with grocery stores and restaraunts all around and there was always somewhere to watch the World Cup and break fast. It was awesome!

What would you improve about this program?
I would change the language pledge. It is useful, but I feel that we had varying levels of Arabic learners and it put unnecessary pressure on the lower-leveled students. It should, at least, be optional for the less-experienced students.