This program offers students a first-hand regional experience in the Middle East through an exploration of multiple sites in Jordan. Throughout the program, students will gain knowledge about the multi-ethnic and pluralistic components that comprise Jordanian society. In turn, participation in the course will develop students' cultural competence, and thus contribute to their ability to become thoughtful global citizens. Taught in English, the course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the history, politics, economics, demography and the culture of Jordan. As an added extra-curricular value, students with proficiency in Arabic will have the opportunity to practice the language with native speakers. Finally, and given its combination of site visits, cultural activities, and classroom instruction, this program will provide students with a diverse learning experience that brings together the critical and the experiential.
Based in Amman, the capital of Jordan, the program also includes visits to Petra and Wadi Rum, Madaba, the Roman city of Jerash, and the Dead Sea.
Cultural Authenticity in a Modern Middle Eastern Society
(MEST 3559; 3 credits)
This course will enable students to:
- Develop cultural competence
- Increase knowledge of the diverse Arab cultures, dialects and history, while broadening understanding of the history of Jordan
- Discover ancient sites and traditional food that very few people get to see and try in an authentic milieu
- Realize how the modern Middle East evolved politically, socially, and economically into a region burdened by webs of power and influence
- Understand a number of contemporary issues in Jordan, especially issues related to women, gender, and inequality
This course is intended for students with a variety of interests and majors, particularly - but not limited to - Middle Eastern Studies, Global Studies, and Foreign Affairs or Politics. As an English language-taught course, this program is a good opportunity for students who have an interest in the region but who don't necessarily have proficiency in Arabic (though traveling to Jordan is an excellent chance to practice the language for those who do!). The course is an approved elective for several Global Studies tracks: Global Development Studies, Global Security & Justice, and Global Studies – Middle East & South Asia.
Bilal Humeidan | firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Professor, Department of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures
Abir Abyad | email@example.com
Lecturer, Department of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures
Accommodation and Meals
Students will stay in shared apartments in Amman, with a small kitchen, living room, and bathroom. Accommodation is located within a 10-minute walk of the Qasid Institute, where most meetings and classes will be held. Some meals are included; students will be shown where to purchase those that aren't.
The program includes an overnight camping excursion at a Bedouin site in the mountainous desert of Wadi Rum.
The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual basis. Students with limited mobility or specific medical needs should be aware that the program includes an overnight camping in the desert. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.
Passport and Visa
All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will need a visa to participate in this program. The ISO will provide instructions for purchasing a visa on arrival in Jordan. International students should consult http://www.jordanembassyus.org for visa and entry requirements, and meet with their International Student Advisor in the International Studies Office for information about re-entering the U.S. at the conclusion of the program.
Health and Safety Information
All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.
Photos courtesy of Dr. Mohammad Halaibeh