Why did you decide to study abroad with ISA?
Carmen: I choose ISA for several reasons. Several of my friends had participated in ISA study abroad programs and had many good things to say about the program! I also chose this program because the coursework in Jordan was exactly what I needed for my Middle Eastern studies minor so it kept me on track in completing coursework.
State two things you didn’t expect to happen when you moved to Jordan?
Carmen: One amazing thing that happened to me while I was in Jordan was that I was able to get in contact with several local advocates in the special needs community, and one of them is an adviser to the ministries of education and social in Jordan and had helped write laws to improve Autism services in Jordan. Something less fortunate that happened during my stay was my camera breaking after I dropped it in the sand while riding a camel!
How has this experience impacted your future?
Carmen: This experience has impacted my future in many ways and will continue to overtime, as it gave both the cultural knowledge and connections to continue expanding my work with the Middle East in international health advocacy.
Highlights: The academic highlight of my trip was definitely taking the US Foreign Policy in the Middle East class. Even though I am currently a psychology major with plans to study health and medicine on an international level, understanding the history behind the relationship between the Middle East and the US during the 20th century and now helps me when trying to build cross-cultural bridges of my own in the health field.
The highlight of my personal experience in Amman was the East-West Youth forum I participated in at the beginning of the summer where I was able to meet many students from Jordan, Russia, the UK and Canada and participate in volunteering activities, touring the city and wonderful social gatherings. It was an excellent opportunity to meet and discuss cultural differences and similarities with people from around the world and I will never forget it!
Morning: My typical morning always consisted of going to class (which is almost always the case summer intensive study abroad sessions). Every morning I would get up to catch the bus from my apartment, and there was mostly nothing remarkable about that experience except when Ramadan would arrive and I would wake up before sunrise to eat a full meal before sunrise (as I elected to fast for half of Ramadan).
Afternoon: My typical afternoon also would consist of class and catching up on any assignments, but I would also meet regularly with some Jordanian friends I made made at the university and talk about daily events.
Evening: My evenings were never typical! Sometimes I would go out with my Jordanian and American friends to go to a new restaurant and perhaps catch a football (soccer) game! Other times I might go walking and find a local art gallery or visit the local library, and almost every Friday evening I would go to the Souk and buy things such as art, jewelry, books and stone carvings!