The London/Amman Conflict Resolution program was both invaluable and unforgettable. This was actually my first time out of the USA and I could not have picked a better program. I have never seen a more organized program with an action-packed and educational itinerary. Being first introduced to London by living in posh Kensington, I got to learn from some of the best professors on the Northern Ireland conflict. By best, I mean Dr. Arthur could name drop and take you back like it was yesterday. I had the honor of being lectured by Lord Alderdice, a life peer in the House of Lords and former speaker of Northern Ireland Assembly. Something I always have to add, thanks to FIE, all of the students were invited to dine with HRH Prince El Hassan bin Tala, and HRH Princess Sarvarth of Jordan, and HRH Duke of Kent. Additionally, in the year I participated, we travelled to Northern Ireland for the weekend. Wow! It doesn't get much more personal than this. Not to mention, the turnover time from travesty to (educational) tourism was remarkable. The most memorable aspect of this mini-trip was standing in the cell where the legendary Bobby Sand died in the protest hunger strike. Other great aspects include visiting Stormont and talking with the Northern Ireland police department. Of course, much fun was had as well with countless pub visits and roaming London via tube thanks to FIE.
Additionally, the Middle-Eastern component in Amman, Jordan was equally impressive. Because the Middle East holds some preconceived notions, it's important to talk about Jordan itself. In a word, very safe and fun. Amman can be quite liberal at times and the area welcomes foreigners. Even being Jewish is no issue in Amman. The after-hours scene has its own Jordanian style as well. It is even safe at dark. Many iftar meals can attest to that. Naturally, it is a bit of a cultural shock. The most trying, but fun example is travelling from your homestay to the AMIDEAST building in a taxi, no English. Let me help you out. Look for Abdoun Circle. However, plenty of English spoken in Amman. AMIDEAST was absolutely phenomenal! Again, the professors and guest speakers were great and they provided me with invaluable information on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict--with the Jordanian perspective never mentioned in western media. These guest speakers, by the way, include past prime minsters and current senators. Also, there were many site visits including refugee camps, travelling to the Dead Sea, and experiencing Biblical Jordan. Also, I would stay on for the extra Arabic portion. I entered Jordan knowing two Arabic words. I left with the ability to construct simple sentences and equally speaking and writing them. I also placed into Arabic III when I got home.
Overall, the best program I have ever been involved in. The education, guest speakers, extracurricular learning opportunities, and after-hours fun were absolutely indispensible and unforgettable. Many lasting memories were made. Additionally, my fellow peers who embarked on the same trip as me made it the best as well. We all cam from different schools and great friendships were made. I would recommend this to any student who wants to have fun while learning and do so for the most cost efficient price. FIVE STARS. Thanks FIE and AMIDEAST!!!