Wadi Rum : The Surreal Experience
Although all of the weekend excursions in Jordan have been incredibly insightful, unique, and thought provoking, my personal favorite was the overnight trip to Petra & Wadi Rum. After a nice air-conditioned bus ride, we arrived in Wadi Rum excited for what this vast desert wilderness had to offer. We were immediately treated to an incredible buffet of Arab cuisine while dining under huge Bedouin tents. We were then quickly whisked into the desert upon 4x4s, speeding through the hot sand lined with dramatic sandstone mountains. Our destination was something that all of us had been looking forward to since our arrival in Jordan: riding camels. Although I look hundreds of pictures and videos of the camelback ride through Wadi Rum, I will never be able to relive how dreamlike the whole experience felt. I had to keep asking myself “Is this a movie? Am I actually doing this right now!”. After watching the sun dip beneath the earth, we arrived back at the Bedouin tents for buffet 2.0 (which was just as delicious as the first). Dinner culminated into a traditional Dabke dancing circle with live music being performed in the background. Perhaps the most beautiful sight I’ve see in Jordan was the stars at Wadi Rum. Lying in the sand, in the Middle East, gazing upon the most brilliantly lit night sky I will probably ever see in my life was the most surreal, indescribable experience.
A Jordanian Neighborhood
For two month’s this summer I have lived in the neighborhood Arjan. Like any temporary or permanent home, the people you live with and around define your experience, and the Jordanians I have encountered throughout Amman, but especially in Arjan, have been welcoming and kind to me at every turn. For example, there is a local café that I frequent, and now when I walk in, the entire staff walks up to me asking how school is, and how my travels were from the past weekend. Before I sit down, the waiter already knows what I will order, and brings my argeela and tea almost instantaneously. Through my observations there, most of the patrons live in Arjan and all seem to know each other very well, and have accepted me as a part of their community within Amman. Arjan has a unique, close-knit communal vibe that is rare in the Western world.
Carnegie Mellon University
My name is Taylor Langster, but I usually go by my middle name, Brianna. I am from Bowie, Maryland. I am 21 years old and in my last year of college. My major is international studies at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. I wanted to study in Jordan because I wanted to study Arabic in a formal and immersive setting. I wanted to explore the refugee crisis that Jordan has dealt with in the past and now. In the future, I wish to work for international aid organizations or an NGO, so that I can help those in need. This semester I will be continuing my language studies in Arabic and taking classes in diplomacy and world development. Jordan has been an amazing place to study in and explore. I have learned to appreciate family and community so much more. I also have learned of the intricate social norms that are different than those I am used to in the United States. My experience in Jordan has been a wonderful learning experience that I loved every moment of it.