Robert Keyser - 2012 Program Participant

Big Ben in London, England

Robert is posing for a photo with “Big Ben” (actually situated in what is called the Palace of Westminster) before meeting to speak with Lord Alderdice, a prominent member of the UK Parliament.

What led you to applying for a study abroad program? 

My major is International Area Studies, so of course I wanted to travel. I wanted to learn and experience as much as possible in as many places as possible.

Why did you choose the Foundation for International Education (FIE)?

I found peace and conflict resolution studies very interesting. Additionally, both London and Amman were places on my list to visit. It was great that I was able to travel to Jordan without knowledge of Arabic.

What was your favorite part about studying abroad?

The ability to be immersed into a culture and be forced to “sink or swim” and learn a new way of being and doing.

What aspects of your program made it unique?

The dual city aspect and interweaving of cities and conflicts. Additionally, the guest speakers and site visits were unforgettable.

How supportive did you feel local staff were during your program?

They were always very helpful and available with any concerns.

What is one thing you would change if you could go back in time?

Stayed longer. I wish the program could have been longer.

Can you explain a typical day during your program in one sentence?

Have fun while learning, go out and have more fun.

What was your favorite parts about studying abroad, aside from the scheduled activities?

Sharing good times with the other students and my host family.

Biennial Dinner of the Anglo-Jordanian Society in Amman, Jordan

The 2012 participants of the London/Amman program together with several FIE personnel. Taken at the Biennial Dinner of the Anglo-Jordanian Society, in London, where we all dined with HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal and HRH Princess Sarvath of Jordan, and HRH Duke of Kent.

What was your accommodation like?

Shared rooms in London, homestay in Amman. It was great to interact with the other students and being culturally immersed "at home".

What were the biggest cultural differences you witnessed between London and Amman?

Beyond the expected language barrier, it would probably be experiencing Ramadan for the first time. For an entire month, Muslims are forbidden to eat or drink anything (including water) until sundown. This means that I could not be seen eating or drinking in public out of respect. I tried to fast for a few days. It is definitely something to get accustomed to.

How has your time abroad impacted your life?

I wrote my thesis about social rights in Jordan. Also, I constantly bring up "when I was in Jordan" in conversation. I participated in this program in 2012.