I beyond highly recommend SIT: Jordan.
To begin, this program used to be titled Modernization and Social Change, but the name switched to Geopolitics, International Relations, and the Future of the Middle East. Just so you know!
I began my experience in Jordan not with SIT, but with a small, independent language center for two summers. While we went on trips and I enjoyed that experience, SIT gave going to Jordan a whole other dimension.
The staff is extremely supportive. I was met at the airport by a staff member, and everything was very organized. After, we went to the hotel to stay for a week of orientation, which did a very good job of preparing us for Jordan. I felt it could have been maybe a little shorter, but I had experience in Jordan before, so that may just have been me. The hotel was very nice, and it was lovely to get to know staff and fellow students during that first week. Throughout the entire program, the staff went above and beyond to help us feel comfortable, to support our Arabic, and to support us during the ISP/internship period.
After the first week, we were given a stipend and sent to live with our host families. SIT GIVES A STIPEND- THIS ONE IS 50 JD A WEEK. This is a huge draw to SIT for me. I didn't know about the stipend originally, and I was shocked to find out about it because other, similarly priced programs do not offer one. This is a major pull to SIT- I spent very little of my own personal money on cost of living expenses. Also, SIT offers a Pell Grant match which is super helpful.
The host families are also an amazing aspect of SIT. I learned much more Jordanian Arabic and much more about Jordan's culture than before, and most of the host families were pretty amazing. Some people only had so/so experiences, but they were in the minority. In general, everyone was happy to have that support and family atmosphere. People really welcome you quickly, but also most families have been with SIT for a while, so your presence isn't a huge deal either. I loved that, and felt pretty comfortable almost immediately. Also, the food was AMAZING.
Academics were okay. I would not necessarily say this program shines in that department. Classes are usually taught by guest speakers, who come in and give a lecture on one topic. However, it was cool to learn from a variety of perspectives, and we often went on field visits (such as to the senate, local NGOs, etc). Arabic classes are not heavily emphasized, and if your goal is to learn a whole lot of fusha or Arabic in general, I would think about a different program. This program shines in giving you a diverse set of speakers who present a variety of ideas, as well as providing an amazing host family experience (which helps with Jordanian Arabic), and putting on great, informative trips. It is just not extremely rigorous academically.
That said, students get the option to do an internship or independent research project, and that was an amazing experience. I did a research project, and the opportunity to conduct field research while abroad is not one to be taken lightly. People always ask me about it when I bring it up, and it helped in an internship interview. It helped me identify a field of study I want to go on to get a Masters in, and the overall support system was great! Students who did internships also seemed to learn a lot and enjoy their work.
I definitely felt like I came away learning a whole lot about Jordan and the region, especially considering I had studied there previously. Additionally, a trip to the UAE was included in our tuition. This was amazing- we got to see the contrast between Jordan and a wealthy Gulf state, which fit the program theme well. We also had tons of fun in Dubai!! In Jordan, we went to Um Qais, Petra, Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea, and Aqaba. All of those trips were super, super fun!!
In all, I highly recommend SIT: Geopolitics. The trips were great, the host families were unique, and you get much more for paying the same amount as comparable programs. Even though the academics are not rigorous, I think I learned more about Jordan and the Middle East than my friends on comparable programs. The research project was an invaluable opportunity. However, I did feel like I learned less Arabic. The woman who directed the Arabic program was great and always willing to offer extra help, and I adore her! But overall, I think the program emphasizes it less.