Jordan - Amman - University of Jordan
Tania Samsonoff (firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Practice taking less-than-ten minute showers.
• Eat all the mexican food you can.
• Get into the mindset of 'NOT AMERICA', because Jordan is just that -- not America. Don't
expect things to be the way you're used to.
• Girls & Boys: NO SHORTS.
• Girls: - T-shirts with necklines that don't expose more than a collarbone. - Unless you
plan to do traveling to Israel, avoid the tank tops, shorts, skirts. - I would highly suggest not
bringing heels and opting for more flat-soled nice shoes for your fancy outfits. The streets of
Amman are full of uneven stairs, cracks, and hard dirt. You will hurt yourself. - YOU DO
NOT NEED TO BRING VEILS. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to wear them.
Scarves are cheaper there, so I would just wait to buy them there (2-4 JD) - One bathing
suit. - SUNGLASSES - Flip-flops you can wear, but few people that aren't relatively low
in the class-levels do.
• Contrary to what CIEE says, PEOPLE DO NOT COME TO SCHOOL DRESSED UP.
Jeans and T-Shirts are just fine. Bring winter clothes. It is dreadfully hot in September, but
once October hits, you will wish you brought the coat.
• Books. They are so dreadfully expensive in Jordan. Take your favorites with you.
• Arabic is the only intensive class there. The books are bought at print-shops for far cheaper
(and more illegal) prices.
• Everyone is really nice, but don't expect to blend in unless you have arab ancestry.
• They LOVE to stare at you, which isn't bad in Jordanian culture, but it is with American.
• Falafel is FANTASTIC and taste different depending on where you go. I was a vegetarian so
I found out very quickly where to go for fantastic food. There's a schwarma place
(Schwarma world) just outside the tunnel from the main gate of the University that sells it
for dirt cheap. Just ask for a 'falafel sandwich'.
• If you're going downtown, hit up Hashems, which is in an alley. EVERY DRIVER IN
AMMAN WILL KNOW WHERE THIS IS. If they claim they don't, just get out of the cab
and get another one.
Health & Safety
• Girls have it much tougher then boys in Jordan. The men will whistle, hiss, shout out things,
honk their horns, and slam on their breaks to get a good look at you. Just ignore it. It's a fact
of life there.
• Bring an Ipod.
• Try not to spend too much time by yourself as well. In the day it's fine, but at night it can be
really scary, even if no one will bother you. Always have someone with you!
• Avoid the local men. If it's at a bar and they speak perfect English, they're are pigheaded as
the men you'll find at the clubs here.
• Taxis will be where you'll have you're biggest hassles. MAKE SURE YOU MAKE THEM
PUT ON THE METER. You can't miss it. It's the little box in the middle of the front seat.
Women ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO SIT IN THE BACK. If they don't push the meter to
25.0, then say "Lau samaht, aidad?" Or point and say "meter". If they shake their head, make
a move to get out of the taxi. It is illegal for them to not have the meter on. You will not be
haggling with taxi drivers in Amman. And ladies, if you're in a taxi alone at night, KEEP
THE CELL PHONE OUT. And never ever ever ever give the number to ANYONE. And
also never have the taxi driver drive you straight to your house.
• Women shouldn't be asking local men to get coffee or hang out either. It can oftentimes be
misconstrued as a marriage proposal (I'm serious).
• I spent $2000 a semester and lived comfortably with a small amount of travel. If you plan on
doing a LOT of traveling and intend to use airplanes, allot more funds.
• BRING $50 IN CASH WITH YOU WHEN YOU BOARD THE PLANE TO JORDAN.
You need to buy your Visa and there are no ATMs before customs. Somehow, they always
fail to tell people about this important fact.
• You'll be getting a cell phone. Its a pay-per-use cell phone, so you'll be heading to the
phone-sellers in the tunnel (just outside the main gate). They come in various
• You can contact home using a ma'ak card, (2 jd will give you about 30 minutes to call
california) or skype (if you're lucky enough to find good internet).
• Bring your laptop. They have wireless in Jordan. You just have to know where to find it.
GLORIA JEAN's Coffee shops have free wireless for paying customers. If you go to Duar
Waha's though, you can't just spend 1 JD buying a water to use it.
• I was in a muslim homestay for the entire academic year. Expect to be fed a lot and learn
quickly how to assert that you are full. It's going to be awkward and they aren't afraid to be
brutally honest about looks or ask you forward questions.
• Go to Syria/Israel on the weekends since they're closest.
• Use the Eid breaks for Lebanon and Egypt.
• Aqaba is also very fun and a JETT bus from downtown Amman will get you there for 7 JD.
Aqaba's a 3-4 hour bus trip south and there it's nice and warm and the Red Sea is amazing.
• Stay in hostels. They may be quite grungy but AMAZINGLY cheap. Make sure to call
ahead to reserve though, ESPECIALLY on breaks.
• What I used: - Petra Hotel is good in Aqaba. - Haramain Youth Hostel in Damascus, Syria
- Garden City House Hotel in Cairo, Egypt <-- this overlooks city center. When I stayed
they had no one in the hotel, so we got a suite for 10 bucks a night. -Jerusalem has pretty
expensive hostels in comparison to the rest of the middle east, so just lonely-planet it. -
• Reverse culture shock is awful. Expect to feel upset because you're no longer the center of
attention. And NO ONE will understand just how amazing your experience was. That's
Disclaimer: The information in this document is provided by former study abroad students
in the International Ambassadors Program at Santa Clara University. Any views or
opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those
of Santa Clara University, the International Programs Office, or our affiliated study abroad