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By ecirrincione

Hello everyone! I'm back- after a big drama with the internet providers here in Jordan! Cheap and abundant wifi/3G is one thing I will definitely be a lot more thankful for once I am in the states. It is a big hassle here to get yourself situated with a good company, and mine just went out of business so I have been internet free the past few days.

I am leaving Jordan on Monday to spend three weeks in the US before coming back. My experience in Jordan has been overwhelmingly positive, and that is why I decided to stay for the whole academic year. Undoubtedly, my time abroad was only enriched by the experience of volunteering at the Mubarrat.

To backtrack, this semester I volunteered twice a week at the Mubarrat Um El Hossain. From their website : ...continue reading "Goodbye from Jordan!"

By ecirrincione

I am now coming into my last two weeks volunteering with the Mubarrat Um El Hossain. This week in class we are busy doing class presentations and we will have our final exams next week. I am excited for it, but I hope that they will prepare! It is hard because we do not have that much time together.

Teaching English was the volunteer opportunity that I was hoping to get; I have such a passion for language and I know that English is in high demand. When I arrived in Jordan, I noticed how eager people were to practice their English with me. The amount of students that tried to get into the class also confirmed my belief that it is important to teach English. ...continue reading "2 weeks left!"

By ecirrincione

I have decided to extend my stay in Jordan to a year long stay; Jordan truly has become like home for me. I am incredibly connected to the people and Amman, I couldn't imagine leaving.

I am still volunteering at the Mubarrat Um El Hossain, and we are entering our seventh week of classes! I am beginning to really feel connected to the girls. They are always so eager to learn and ready to absorb new information. I try and keep the class light because in my opinion, no one wants to learn when they are bored! I hope I am having a positive impact on them. I will really miss them at the culmination of this volunteering experience. The staff at the Mubarrat has also been incredibly helpful. I feel like I can talk with them about anything. I am really grateful I found this experience. ...continue reading "Updates from Jordan- Protests and Pronouns!"

By ecirrincione

As I mentioned in my last post, I am volunteering teaching English at the Mubarrat Um El Hossain in Amman, Jordan. I just got back from class-whew! I am tired. It's a far trip from my house, but it is such a rewarding experience.

I teach ten girls, who range from high school age to mid-20s. They all have different reasons for wanting to learn English. Some of the reasons they have told me have been to further their educational career or because they love to learn new languages. The class is a conversational English class, so it is important to always engage the students in conversation. Students in Jordan are mandated to take English class in school, but this usually means that they learn grammar. It can be hard to practice speaking conversational English, so these girls have a good opportunity to practice speaking with a native - me! ...continue reading "First two weeks at the Mubarrat"

By ecirrincione

As you may know, I am writing this blog on behalf of the GW Commitment to Community scholarship, and part of this scholarship includes me volunteering abroad. When I was applying for the scholarship, I was thinking about what kind of activities I wanted to be involved with during my time in Jordan. I knew I wanted to somehow teach English, work with the community and deal with women. Alhamdulillah, I have found a volunteering opportunity that deals with all of them.

...continue reading "Volunteering in Jordan!"

By ecirrincione

There were protests planned for Jordan. Now nothing dramatic or horrifying had happened here, such as in next-door Egypt or Libya, but there was a nervous feeling in the air as Friday approached. Emails were sent to our parents, the State Department gave us a debriefing, and we all waited to see what would come out of it. Some students claimed they wouldn’t tell people they were American, others planned to stay out of the downtown area; each had their own plan to deal with the seemingly impending chaos.

Friday came and went, and some small protests materialized in front of the American Embassy, mosques and a gym. The police had come out in full force to quell any potential riots, but those riots never appeared.

I am an American, but I do not visibly look like one. Because I am a Muslim, I wear Islamic dress which has give me a “pass” to blend in with the local Jordanian culture. This has its pros and its cons. It’s great to have people automatically speak to you in Arabic and give you the local price for things, but it can be a little confusing trying to explain to them why you have no idea what they just said.  As a Muslim American, I have two identities, which are often in conflict with one another. In America, Muslims are the “other”. We are not welcomed in politics or mainstream society. Ours mosques are targeted and infiltrated; some do not even consider us American. I have walked in the streets of DC to have people tell me “Go back to your own country”, even though I am in it. On the other hand, Muslims view America as the big bad monster in the room. Due to American foreign policy abroad, America is often seen as an antithesis to Islam and our Prophet. The recent film uploaded on YouTube did nothing to help that reputation.

...continue reading "Lessons from Amman: How to Love One Another"

By ecirrincione

Hello everyone! My name is Elizabeth Cione and I am currently spending the fall semester abroad in Amman, Jordan. I am participating in the Language and Culture program at CIEE, who hosts various programs all over the world. I have chosen to study abroad in Jordan specifically with CIEE for several reasons. I am majoring in Middle East studies at the Elliott school; therefore it is only fitting that I will be studying in the Middle East. There were several Middle Eastern countries offered, but I chose Jordan because it is an emerging Middle Eastern power that still holds true to its traditions and cultures. I was searching for a country that would welcome me as a foreigner, but would also have a lot to teach me about the rest of the world. Out of all of the programs, the Jordan program seemed to be the best match for me because of the focus on the language that was essential to learn. In addition to the language, the CIEE program focused strongly on providing a great cultural immersion, which was also very important to me.

...continue reading "Hello from Amman!"