Part One: Housing Abroad
Hello everyone, if you’ve reached my blog you’re either enrolled in a study abroad trip to Amman, Jordan (or perhaps contemplating it). Whatever the case, welcome! In my blogs, I hope to use my experience abroad to better prepare yourself for this wonderful journey. In part one, I’ll discuss housing abroad.
First and foremost, congratulations for stepping outside of your comfort zone! Studying abroad is a very daunting but an amazing experience, one that I will never regret. Let’s be real, traveling is very expensive. But there are many ways to save money here in Amman. One of them include in your living accommodation. Will you live with a Jordanian family who will provide you meals, immerse you in the culture, and inherently saving you some cash? Or, will you live in an apartment, practice budgeting, and gaining some independence as a individual? There is no right or wrong decision, but all that matters is what you’re comfortable with.
In your CIEE application, which will show up a month or so before your departure, you will be filling out a housing survey. I cannot stress enough to to be honest in this survey. The man behind the scenes who coordinates your housing situation (Amer) is like the “eharmony” of CIEE students of Amman, but with living compatibility instead of dating. Whether or not you choose a homestay or the apartments, you will need to create a profile for Amer to work with: Are you a bit messy, or a clean freak? Do you like kids, or would you rather not be a permanent baby sitter? Do you have any allergies, or are you a vegetarian?
The survey goes over a lot of topics, such as these. It is important to be truthful because this will shape your experience here in Amman. I would rather you live in a house with no kids, than being miserable with four of them hanging off of your arms and legs. Or perhaps you mentioned that you’re super clean, when in reality you’re the type to have piles of clothes on the floor. Whatever the case, this isn’t a job application where you lie about knowing how to use Microsoft excel. Amer will try to find a perfect family and roomate for you.
If you’ve decided on choosing the homestay options, welcome aboard! There are many homestay families who are from various socioeconomic backgrounds, different neighborhoods, and all with different personalities, this all making every student’s experience unique. I chose the homestay option, and I also decided to have a roommate within the homestay. The experience of living in a homestay has been something that I will never forget. Everyday there was never a dull moment, from random dance party with my host siblings, to my host mom feeding me food until I wanted to slip into a food coma. The one thing that you need to know is, like everything in life, the amount of effort you put into something is the amount of energy you will receive. You cannot expect to be treated as a part of the family if you stay in your room all day; know that these families are told by Amer personally to give the students as much space as they need.
If you decided on the option of an apartment; this is a great option as well. You are given an apartment room that is fully furnished that you will share with one other person. The apartment includes, a kitchen with utensils and appliances. In addition, a living room with a TV, air conditioners in every room (more or less), and a bathroom that is supplied with a water tank every week. You and your roommate are in charge of budgeting your water every week, so be mindful of that. In both situations, communication is critical.
(Budgeting and other topics relating to money will be mentioned in part two, in the meantime grab your calculators and bank accounts!)