Life in Amman...2 months in

Authored by:
Sajedah Q.

I have been in Jordan for a little less than two months now, and that means I have adjusted to the culture and Arabic a lot better than when I first arrived. However, in between those two months of living and studying in Amman, I have gotten to experience interacting with locals, visiting different cities of Jordan, and culture shock(which completely sucks and is normal so never be afraid to ask for help!). 

Life in Amman is a different pace and has many cultural differences from the United States. For one and the most obvious: styles of clothing. It is vey different and more "conservative" than the United States; for instance, wearing shorts is frowned upon even for Amman and dresses and skirts should fall below the knee. Additionally, women should sit in the back of the taxis and cat calling is more prevelant; there is also no place "off limits" for smoking. In the taxis drivers will smoke , in the restaurants, cafes, bathrooms, gym courtyards, etc. The list can go one forever, and to me that is unacceptable and quite frankly annoying. In my opinion, if you want to smoke do it in a place where others will not suffer the consequences of second hand smoke or the smell of it. 

The combination of these things as well as the intial language barrier did not help with adjustment and I just felt like an outsider who should not be in Jordan. However, after the first month and experiencing really terrible culture shock I have learned to adjust. My daily life is starting to feel like second nature and I am adapting to culture. I personally do not think I would be adjusted into the local culture and have more appreciation if I did not have culture shock. However, the cultural experiences are not all bad.  The people in shops or cafes are always very welcoming and friendly. When visiting other people's houses, they will always try to feed you and make sure you are being taken care of. Hospitality is very important in Jordan and people will go out of there way to help you. 

Daily life for me looks a little like this: 9AM-11AM and from 1-2:30PM classes and on Sundays class from 5-7:30PM.  After class, go to the gym, eat lunch, study/do homework, go home to eat dinner, and then watch the news/ programs. I also try and converse with my family in all Arabic even though it takes me a longer time to reply . I joined a running group and hiking group to meet and interact with Jordanians. Some days after finishing homeworking ,I like to sit in a coffee shop and read to relax after some stressful days. Life in a different country maybe hard at first and there maybe feelings of hopelessness when studying abroad and adjusting to the culture, but it does get better. Studying abroad in a different country is a learning experience and that is reason for studying abroad. The culture is different and one is there to learn about it through interactions.






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