Amanda Alfarah - 2013 Program Participant

Of all the programs you could had to choose from, what made you choose ISA’s program in Jordan?

One of the main reasons that I choose to study with ISA is because they offered the option of home stays for living arrangements. My father is an immigrant from Jordan and as I decided to travel there, I knew that I wanted to stay with my family. I recommend this option to all students studying abroad. Living with local families adds so much more depth to the experience. It was the time that I spent at home with my family that I learned the most about the culture and gained the most knowledge of Arabic language.

ISA also offers a variety of cultural trips throughout Jordan. These cultural trips were one of the best parts of my trip. Whether it was exploring Petra or scuba diving in the Red Sea, these trips were once in a lifetime opportunities to explore unfamiliar wonders of the world. 

As a soon-to-be Bowling Green State Alum, what advice would you give to other Bowling Green State students going to study abroad in Amman? 

My advice to fellow BGSU students planning on studying in Amman would be not to be nervous.  You will be surprised at how welcomed you will feel in the city. Even if you do not know Arabic, it is not difficult to travel, shop, or enjoy the sites, as many people are fluent in English. Jordanians are very kind and hospitable individuals. Go into the country with an open mind and embrace the experience.

Why did you enjoy studying in Amman specifically?

?Amman is a wonderful city to study abroad in. It is very different than the typical American viewpoint of what the Middle East is like. Amman is very modern and has more taxis and American stores than any town I've seen in my home state of Ohio. You will never run out of things to do in Amman. There are so many opportunities to soak up the culture in Amman. One great way to do so is checking out Rainbow Street on the weekend nights. Rainbow Street provides hundreds of booths with local Jordanians selling their handmade products. You will find reasonably priced jewelry, soaps, and gifts for all your friends and family at home. You will enjoy the nightlife in the city, especially if you are there during Ramadan - that is when the city really comes alive.

What course during your program was your favorite?

?My favorite class while studying abroad dealt with history between the United States and the Middle East. I thought this class was very interesting. Most people in my class were familiar with the current relationships between the U.S. government and present day governments in the Middle East. However, many of us, including myself were lacking in the knowledge of relations that brought us to the point we are at today. This class really helped me understand how the relationship developed and anti-American views began to form in the minds of some in the Middle East.

This class was my favorite because better understanding the history between America and the Middle East helped me better understand the problems we are facing today. 

Overall, how has studying abroad affected your life?

I have studied abroad twice now and I have to say, both of the experiences were amazing. They changed my outlook on life and helped me become a better person. After spending time in a culture that is much more collective than America, it really helped embed in me the importance of being there for others.

Studying abroad also reminded me that we are all one human race, with more similarities than differences. Seeking to understand these differences should be our goal instead of eliminating them.

Studying abroad has left me with a longing desire to travel back to the Middle East. As I begin, graduate school this fall, I am also beginning to search for opportunities to go back to Jordan.  Studying abroad will leave you with the desire to be more interconnected with the world, instead of lost in your bubble at home. There is so much out there to experience and studying abroad helps open the doors to learn more about the world and yourself.