CIEE: Amman, Middle East Studies (Summer)
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Rana Mohamed

Major: International Politics, Global and International Studies
Minor: Middle Eastern Studies
Hometown: Belleville, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity in various ways: the Education Abroad Advisers, the College of the Liberal Arts listserv, and the Liberal Arts academic advisers.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Immersed in a sea of culture, out of the ordinary academic environments, and history encompassing the Nabateans, Romans and Islamic periods,  I spent two months this summer in the surprisingly westernized, but still traditional, city of Amman, Jordan. Starting my day off with my host family was heartwarming as they each shared stories and actively listened to mine. The taxi rides that followed were always a pleasure as I practiced my Arabic and listened as they recapped the news and inquired about my life in America. Every week, we had a different trip, sponsored by the program, to a new site. The sites included: Petra, Wadi Rum, Jerash, the Azraq Oasis, Ajloun, the Dead Sea, and downtown Amman, along with the oldest and finest restaurants in town. Exploring the city with the six other students from other universities in the US was the cherry on top as we all became close friends. My favorite parts of the journey included: the Beit Sitti cooking class, cooking with my host parents, speaking to the locals, and taking courses with a fascinating Italian professor and the assistant director of ACOR.

Studying abroad will impact your life in ways you can never imagine. Be open to the possibilities!

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience impacted me in more ways than one. At times we tend to forget the world around us as we are consumed with our own lives. This translates into our education. I study the Middle East, foreign policy, and culture and aspire to make the world a better place for minority groups. However, at times the media and our textbooks portray one side of the story because of a superiority complex. The two courses I took in Jordan showed me a new way of thinking that is more holistic. Additionally, I was inspired to dig deeper into my curiosities instead of bypassing them as insignificant.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goals are to work for a humanitarian organization in the Middle East to improve the status of women, spread educational accessibility, and progress relations with the United States on a basis of cultural understanding. I am still not sure exactly what career this will look like, but I am excited for the journey to come. This experience impacted my career plans because it proved my desire to work in a global setting, my passion for bridging the gap of cultural understanding, and my ability to live in a foreign country. I felt at home in Jordan, and I could see myself moving back there one day. This experience gave me the opportunity to explore who I am and what I am capable of.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to all students. Studying abroad is an opportunity for personal and academic growth. Whether it is in Jordan or another country, studying abroad will impact your life in ways you can never imagine. Be open to the possibilities!

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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