CET Jordan: Intensive Language

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About

Want to improve your Arabic fluency by leaps and bounds? CET Jordan provides just the context. The program features rigorous courses in both formal and informal Arabic, language partners, local roommates, and a full-time language pledge. You'll take an official Oral Proficiency Interview at the end of the term, perfect for adding to a résumé or grad school application. Arabic-based content courses and excursions—around Amman and throughout Jordan—will challenge your preconceptions and teach you to speak diplomatically about issues ranging from corruption to women in the military. From filming a tourism video to learning a folk dance, CET Jordan will give you chance after chance to experience the diversity and vibrancy of Arab culture. This program is for serious students with at least 2 semesters of previous Arabic language study.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

91%
based on 13 reviews
  • Academics 9.2
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 8
  • Housing 7.1
  • Safety 8.6
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
Cat
10/10

Third Time's A Charm

My semester in Jordan was not my first time in Jordan-I had been twice for study abroad with my school the previous summers; however, this experience was unlike any other. CET offers 2 outlets which are important in learning a language, especially in a foreign country, which makes the program itself stand out from other study abroad programs: the language pledge and native roommates who live in the apartments. While the language pledge was frustrating at times, and also tempting to break when in our apartments or with our friends, it improved my Arabic skills the most and helped me become more confident in my speaking abilities. It always felt rewarding when I would explain a concept to someone, 100% in Arabic, and they understand almost entirely the ideas I was conveying. As for the or for my broken Arabic that they didn’t understand, we would discuss in Arabic until we were on the same page. It was also fun to engage with other students who were at different levels and help one another.
Living in the apartments with a Jordanian roommate also proved beneficial. In my past study-abroad experiences, I lived with close friends, so we did not speak Arabic as much as we could have; this past semester, I shared a room with my Jordanian roommate, which was an experience I loved more than I ever thought I would. There were nights where she and I would exchange stories about our family lives, our friends, or just funny experiences—all in Arabic, for hours.
As for the quality of our apartments, they were more than adequate and provided the amenities one would expect from a study abroad experience. Nothing too fancy and nothing too plain, our apartments came fully furnished and seemed more-or-less clean. Some apartments came with enough plates and utensils for all 3-4 roommates (maybe more than enough), while others came with not nearly enough. Some had pots and pants; others did not. The apartment is on top of a hill and is guarded; and with the directors living there as well, there was never any reason to feel unsafe. Having the directors in the same apartment complex as the students was more than beneficial: most students felt not only safe, but also reassured that help and advice—no matter the situation—were always just a few doors away.
The teachers were exceptional and always made sure that their students understood the material, and that no one felt behind in the class. They were always willing to meet at any time outside of class, for however long the student needed. The classes were small, which I liked—my class had 5 people including me—because it helped the students bond closely and encouraged active participation and, in turn, improved students’ Arabic skills through casual conversation. While we learned a lot of new vocabulary, we focused heavily on how to use these new terms, specifically in giving presentations in front of our classmates (rather than just constantly learn lists of words). We discussed issues that are important to Jordanian society and had many opportunities to go out and ask questions to students, who were hanging out in the streets between their classes, specifically asking about the topics we discussed in classes that day or week. We would come back to class and present on what we had just discussed with our new friends.
The trips and cooking days also served an important role in our learning. We would learn about the places we were going and give presentations on them with our newly expanded vocabulary and have the chance to discuss the sights and history of the places we visited with our friends, language partners, roommates, and teachers while exploring. The cooking days were my favorite; I was able to develop my culinary vocabulary, learn colloquial terms for food, and perfect authentic Jordanian dishes—all while laughing and having fun with my classmates. We would later share our dishes with other classes, and then teach them how to make the dish. There was constant engagement among the students, whether it manifested in the encouragement of others, helping others with homework, or sharing fun stories. There was never a dull day with CET.
I love CET for many reasons, but mostly because it gave me the confidence to speak and not be afraid to make mistakes.

How can this program be improved?
Some of the content classes had heavy material, and students with minimal exposure to the language would be expected to come in and 1) know information about the subject already 2) be able to keep up in learning not only the language, also the information from other classes that just so happened to be taught in Arabic. I understand the importance of the language pledge; however, I think that having the first day (of content courses specifically) dedicated to going over major points and historical events in English would be beneficial. (For example, for religious parties, briefly touch on the groups that will be discussed and where they stemmed from).
Yes, I recommend
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William
10/10

My time in Amman

Living in Amman, Jordan for the semester was a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience. CET provided all of its students with excellent living amenities and the staff was always available and accessible if there were any problems. My daily schedule went a little something like this: wake up, make a simple breakfast using fresh ingredients from the local markets, attend Arabic class for a few hours, grab a falafel sandwich (for about 50 cents!), and go back to the university for my politics class (taught in Arabic as well). After class and on weekends my time was my own. Although yes, there was plenty of studying to be done, I found that the most effective way to study was to go into the streets and the markets and talk with Arabs. Throughout the week we stayed fairly local, but on weekends we would often take day trips to one of the incredible sites in and around Amman including Asalt, the old Ottoman capital of the Jordanian province, the roman amphitheater in downtown Amman, the famous “Rainbow Street” where we could haggle with vendors over homemade crafts and jewelry, and Donna, a spectacular nature reserve complete with cave dwellings dated back to the Nabatean Empire (over 2,000 years ago).
Jordan is truly an incredible country with equally incredible people. Jordanians always found a way to help us out, sometimes inviting us into their homes to drink tea and meet their families. Just as amazing were the students in the program with me. I made some wonderful relationships with these students who hailed from all over America- it’s truly astonishing how closely you grow to people when you all find yourself in a foreign land with only limited knowledge of the local language.
Finally, my Arabic skills increased so much throughout this experience in both written and spoken form. The language pledge that CET enforces, although occasionally leading to frustration, was well worth it in the end when I found myself speaking with a fluency I didn’t imagine possible for myself. I loved my experience abroad the perspective it gave me will continue to be invaluable for a long time.

How can this program be improved?
More excursions around Jordan! Those were easily the best parts.
Yes, I recommend
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Sean
9/10

Best language program in Jordan

There are a lot of programs that enable you to learn Arabic in Amman, but none will match the language instruction with CET. When the professors say that they are there for you 24/7, they truly mean it - they will answer your questions any hour of the day. Since the program is embedded inside of the university, you have an incredible amount of resources available to you, which is great for language learning. Also, the program gives you a lot of free reign to explore the city, country, and region, which a lot of other programs have restricted, so that is good.

How can this program be improved?
The housing itself is fine but it is very overpriced, so you don't exactly get great bang for your buck there.
Yes, I recommend
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Tessa
9/10

Spend a Summer in the Desert!

So, Amman isn't really the desert, but it is hot and you have to dress conservatively, so expect to be sweating a lot (or staying inside during the day). This program really did teach me Arabic, from the language partners to the local roommates to the teachers, everybody is so genuinely welcoming and helpful that it's impossible not to pick up on the language! Manal, the program director, is the absolute best. She is so sweet, helpful, funny, and nice, and the days when she came in to teach my class were days where I learned the most. Likewise, CET does a good job planning the short and the long trips -- they are planned so carefully as to even include time for a shower when they know we'll be sweaty after walking around in the sun at Petra, and I believe that I saw more of the country than I would've had I been left to take those trips on my own. The apartment style living is a great way to always be with your fellow students, as well as to have the freedom to explore the city/country as much as possible. If you're looking to stay with a host family, there are other programs out there, but if you're like me and opted for freedom vs. immersion, the apartments with the local roommate are a perfect balance. There is a little bit of miscommunication between the staff and the students, but that is almost to be expected with any abroad trip (and in this country especially..."Arab time" is most definitely a thing). Overall, if you're looking to learn arabic, this is a great program!

Yes, I recommend
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Corina
9/10

The Program That's Worth It

CET has found a fantastic academic director in Manal Youssef. She is a strong leader, intelligent, and beyond amazing in the classroom. She and the administrative director make sure you see the tourist-y parts of Jordan, and get an amazing experience in Wadi Rum, but also push you just hard enough so that you come out of the program stunned at how far you've come.
This program was well worth every penny, the only issues I faced were the comments from people on the street, and how chilly it is indoors during the winter! So bring layers if you'll be there close to winter, otherwise, just be ready to learn and learn and learn, more than you ever thought you could. I learned more from this program than it appears from friends did in year-long stays with other programs.

How can this program be improved?
I would like to see more of the structure of the program made clear to students, as well as the apartments. Basically, a little improvement on distributing information and organization, and they're perfect.
Yes, I recommend
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Elisa
7/10

Recommended, but with caution

From what I've heard, CET is the one of the best Arabic intensive language program. The curriculum is laid out well, the teachers and directors love the students and work tirelessly to help them learn. That being said, I felt that there were unreasonable expectations placed on the students that led to a lot of burn out, frustration and discouragement. For me, having only finished one year of Arabic, there's a lot of grammar that I thought I would learn this summer, but the focus on grammar was minimal. The idea is that we will learn grammar from context as we read the lessons, but we went through the readings so quickly, often times barely understanding what they were about, before moving on to the next one that the opportunity to look at grammatical structures in sentences was often missed. There were days when I was deeply concerned that I would leave Jordan hating Arabic. That did not end up being the case, and in spite of a lot of challenges this summer, I learned a lot-- the language pledge forced me to speak in Arabic a lot more than I would have otherwise. (I definitely spoke in English with the two Americans I lived with in order to maintain my emotional and mental sanity, but I did my best to maintain the pledge as much as possible.) My vocabulary expanded exponentially and my comfort in speaking, reading, and writing grew considerably. For students considering CET, yes, you will learn a lot, have a great time on the trips that CET coordinates for the program and you will interact a lot with Jordanians through homework assignments, hanging out with your roommate, and meeting with your language partner three times a week (by far my favorite part of the summer!). But also be aware that you will be pushed beyond what seems actually possible. I have two pieces of advice: if your school uses Al-kitaab and doesn't finish the first book at the end of the first year (my university only finished chapter 10), finish it yourself (and learn the vocabulary) before you arrive in Jordan. It lays groundwork for key grammatical concepts that would've been extremely helpful to know. Second, do not be afraid to talk to the program directors and teachers if you're struggling. They want you to succeed, it's just a matter of figuring out how to achieve that!

Response from CET Academic Programs

Thank you for submitting honest and thorough feedback.
While CET tries to prepare students for the fast-paced intensity of the program, it is important for future students to hear directly from alumni like you. You offer tremendous advice that we hope all students will hear: students should verify that they prepare appropriately prior to arrival, speak with our incredible onsite staff if challenges arise, and take advantage of the many learning opportunities available through the program – language partners, roommates, classmates, etc.
It was clearly a challenging summer for you, but I’m thrilled to hear that you were pushed beyond what you originally thought was possible!
Sarah Dixon, Director of Institutional Relations

Yes, I recommend
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Elizabeth
9/10

Pick CET if you're serious about your studies

There are a lot of programs in Amman that teach Arabic to American college students, and I met a lot of other American students out and about in the city and had the chance to compare programs - the consensus was pretty much that CET was the best. Between the language pledge, the 100% Arabic usage in the classroom, the long hours of class and the content-based courses (of course 100% in Arabic), I learned more Arabic, and got more comfortable using the Jordanian/Shaami dialect, than I would have anywhere else. We did all get the chance to see all the sites in Jordan and do plenty of independent travel to Istanbul/Beirut/Dubai etc, as well as explore Amman nightlife, museums and cultural events. But studies were really the first priority. CET is also the best program if you're looking to meet locals. The language partner program was fantastic (a little awkward at first) but as I got to know my language partner I really enjoyed our visits and the experience really helped my conversational and vocab skills. Our roommate was also a great resource to us, she was incredibly friendly and helpful. CET is good at putting together a lot of social events for American students to mingle with and get to know local Jordanians in similar age groups.

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked to see more structure in the lesson plans. Going without a syllabus or any idea of how we were going to be graded or what our homework was on any given day was really stressful in a way that I don't think was productive for my learning.
Yes, I recommend
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Ryan
10/10

CET is THE choice for Arabic learning

The amount of Arabic I learned studying abroad with CET was worth every dollar (or dinar) and every second I spent there. I grew at a speed I once thought was unimaginable, I feel it would take me years in an American setting to make the gains that did. On top of it I made new best friends, and was immersed in a culture that is strikingly beautiful and sincere. CET rules (and so does the academic director Manal, and my wonderful proffesor Noor!)

How can this program be improved?
If I would change one thing about the program, it would be the reliability of living partners.
Yes, I recommend
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Emily
9/10

The Deserts of Jordan

Perhaps the best trip we took with CET was to Wadi Rum in the southern part of Jordan. In a word, Wadi Rum is unbelievable. Completely filled with red rocks and sand, this is unlike any desert I have seen in my life. The deep silence that settles at night is not foreboding, but extremely peaceful as it is accompanied by the most fantastic array of stars possible. Spending a night in the desert in a traditional bedouin camp was an unforgettable highlight of my trip abroad.

How can this program be improved?
I believe a lot of students had problems with their internship placements; either they were late in receiving a company to work with or the company did not provide a captivating atmosphere in which to work. I would improve the internship program so that students could receive a full 8 weeks of stimulating work experience.
Yes, I recommend
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Kate
9/10

Life Changing

Everyday, I woke up and joked around with my roommate. Sometimes we ate quickly together, and would always discuss the day ahead. Then we headed off to our respective classes, where I discussed current issues and important problems that occur all over the Middle East, but especially in Jordan. After class I would meet up with a friend to chat, maybe grabbing coffee or a snack at a café. I would return to my apartment and hang out with my roommate, once more swapping stories and talking about life as we finished our homework. Then it was off to bed to get ready for a new day.
And you know what? I did all that in Arabic. I could never have imagined doing so without trouble before, but after being a part of the CET program I did so everyday with ease.
There were definitely some difficulties - being harassed and stared at in the streets, and having to cope with a whole different culture. However the CET staff did a fantastic job of helping us all out, and more than prepared us in terms of language.

How can this program be improved?
Probably more opportunities to interact with Jordanian students.
Response from CET Academic Programs

Thanks for taking the time to write a review on your CET program! It's always wonderful to hear about your experiences abroad and is invaluable to us as we help new students make the most of their study abroad experience. Please stay in touch! Join our LinkedIn group; follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; and feel free to contact us if you'd like to discuss any aspect of your experience further. -Shelley Jessee, CET staff

Yes, I recommend
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Samira
9/10

CET is Great for Language Learning

When I entered the program, I could barely speak Arabic even though I had three years of studying under my belt. Now, I am almost fluent in the language, thanks to CET. The language pledge and the rigorous courses helped me grow my language skills in ways that were more accessible than what I was learning at my home university. I would be lying if I said it wasn't difficult. There was a time midway through the semester when I felt I was failing and wanted to go home, but the CET directors recognized my distress and convinced me that I was doing a good job. Without their encouragement, I would not have worked as hard as I did to master the language. I am about to graduate, and I feel more confident in my language skills than I ever was before CET.

How can this program be improved?
I would change the language partners.I felt as if both my language partners in the summer and the fall were not really interested in me or helping me learn the language. For one language partner, most of our time was me talking about some subject without any involvement from her. The only thing she would ask would be "And what else?" to keep me talking. The problem is that I can't talk without some encouragement or something to jump start the conversation. Towards the end, these appointments became more of a hassle than help.
Yes, I recommend
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Irene
9/10

Feel the Difference

I expressed a great deal of my personal experiences on CET's study abroad blog, but in addition to those experiences, in general, I believe CET enables as close of an integration experience as is possible into Jordanian society.

How can this program be improved?
I would have a home-stay, at least for a weekend, be a part of the program.
Yes, I recommend
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PhilH
9/10

Excellent Immersion in Arab Culture

I really enjoyed my experience in CET because I felt like I was living outside of an "American Bubble" that I had sought to avoid in my abroad program choice. The program really focuses on improving your Arabic proficiency and through a 2-person language class and direct-enrollment into two other classes with native speakers, I felt appropriately challenged with the language and definitely came into my own. The staff is excellent at addressing student concerns and living with local roommates really gives you a fascinating window into the local culture. I made many new Jordanian friends and had some experiences well off the beaten tourist path.

How can this program be improved?
Even though the in-country administration is an excellent team, the host-university can be a bit disorganized at times, leading to some bureaucratic frustrations.
Yes, I recommend

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About CET Academic Programs

CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and delivering innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. Originally “China Educational Tours,” CET began operations in Beijing, and today offers a varied portfolio...