How will this experience help you in your job search?
Studying Arabic in Amman allows me to advance my Arabic skills to the next level in a relatively short period of time. While learning Arabic is virtually a life-long journey, the immersion of being in the Arabic-speaking world coupled with the quality instruction of the Qasid Institute ensures that I’ll make significant headway. As a graduate student passionate about the geopolitics of the Middle East, this summer has given me new important new insights into the culture and fabric of Middle Eastern society. Having this experience, as well as the resultant language skills that come with it, will be crucial in setting me apart from other competitors going forward as I seek positions in the world of intelligence analysis or political risk.
Why did you choose this country?
Jordan is located in a unique position. Safer than Tunisia or Egypt, more affordable than the Gulf States or the West Bank, and with less English or French than Lebanon or Morocco, it is perhaps the single-best country for prospective students of Arabic. The Qasid Institute in Amman is world renown for its custom-made pedagogy that comes at a more than competitive price. Buttressing this, Jordanians are notoriously hospitable and curious about foreigners, and the nation itself is an underrated jewel in the dazzling network that is the Middle East. In addition to this, Jordan is at the frontline in the fight against the Islamic State and some of the other major security challenges facing the region, allowing visitors and students of international relations to get a glimpse behind the curtain at a relatively safe viewing distance.
Is there anything you wish you would have known?
If I had known how easy it was to get around Jordan, I would have renewed my driver’s license before visiting! Outside of Amman the roads are relatively uncluttered and in decent condition, while rental cars and gas prices are all within reason. Jordan has so many great off-the-beaten path destinations, and renting a car is the best way to try and see them all. Of course, given the extensive and affordable public transportation network, there remain other ways of reaching them. That said, taking the local bus doesn’t allow you to stop whenever and grab that Arabic coffee, check out that pomegranate stand, or snap a picture of some camels chilling on the edge of a cliff.