Aaron Tucker - 2013 Program Participant
A dock on the Red Sea in the City of Aqaba. Photo by Aaron Tucker
Why did you choose to study in Jordan over other countries?
Studying in Jordan was really important to me because of the geographic location. It is actually in the Middle East as opposed to other Muslim or Islamic nations, which range from Africa all the way to Central Asia.
You’re from Drury University, what advice would you give to other Drury students going to study abroad in Amman?
Drury students need to take this advice to heart because really living the culture is critical to a study abroad experience. For example, I went to Jordan during the Holy month of Ramadan and tried to fast for as many days as I could. If I didn't do this cross-cultural experience, even though I only lasted three days, I would have no idea what a majority of Jordanians were going through the whole time I was there. Newsflash: Not eating during daylight hours is extremely difficult and you sleep a lot.
What makes Amman an ideal place to study abroad in Jordan?
Amman has so much to offer culturally, from the Citadel Mount (which holds ruins and artifacts from Roman, Christian, and Islamic religious establishments) to Rainbow street (which is the modern end of town with tons of restaurants and shops to visit). Just visiting Amman can give you a condensed version of Middle Eastern history. It is also a great base camp, as Aqaba is a six hour drive away, Wadi Rum five and a half hours, and sites in the north (Jerash and Ajloun) no more than two hours away.
What was valuable about the classes you took?
The classes that were offered by ISA were very important to me. Obviously I would be learning Arabic, so I wanted to go someplace where Arabic is the official language (Unlike Morocco where French is also widely spoken and the two languages mix together). Learning Arabic in a nation where Arabic was the only officially spoken language was important to me and very advantageous.
What was the most memorable part of your study abroad experience?
During my time abroad I was able to learn and understand what it meant to live with refugees. While in Jordan, my classmates and I visited or were given the opportunity to volunteer with refugees from Palestine, Syria, and Iraq. We got an inside look at what it was like to be a long term visitor in a nation that was not your own. The experience was very eye-opening because the refugees saw things that were a part of their daily lives that Americans and other Westerners could not even fathom.