Summer Arabic Language Program – Amman, Jordan

STEP Reflection Prompts

As you may recall from your STEP signature project proposal, your STEP signature project was designed to foster transformational learning—that is, learning that challenged you personally and helped you gain broader and deeper understandings of yourself, others, and the world around you. Please address the following prompts to help you reflect on your experiences completing your STEP signature project; please give careful and critical thought to your responses.

Name: Johnna Coffin

Type of Project: Study Abroad

  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.

This summer I attended a study abroad in Amman, Jordan through CIEE program. I took two classes while there in both Modern Standard Arabic and Colloquial Arabic. I also took cultural trips around the city and lived with a host family in order to further improve my Arabic language and cultural knowledge.

  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that this trip transformed me while I was there. This is the third time I have studied abroad in the Middle East and so I didn’t really go in with any false ideas or stereotypes. However, I did learn a lot while I was away. Jordan is a very interesting country, because it is right in the middle of many different conflicting countries. Israeli and Palestine, Syria, and Egypt are just a few. And in the midst of all these wars and revolutions, Jordan still remains an independent and peaceful country. I also got new insight on different conflicts happening in the Middle East. For example, I got to hear a different side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I learned about the Jordanian government and military as well as how Jordanians live. I especially enjoyed living with a host family. One thing I learned is that there is no water in Jordan, so all water is imported and therefore there is a water shortage. Each family only gets a limited supply each week. This experience taught me to be humbler and appreciate everything I have.

  1. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.

My host family was a super big proponent in my transformation. They showed me how to live in a developing country. It was a crazy experience. I have been used to taking all things for granted. However, I learned here to appreciate every little thing. Not only do people here live with limited resources, or more limited than in the US, but they also live in constant political fear. As I discussed above, Jordan is surrounded by many warring and dangerous countries. And while the people and country have avoided a conflict of their own for this long, they live in constant fear that the wars and fighting will catch up to them. This kind of political insecurity and worry taught me to be thankful for everything I have in the US.

  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.

I think that this study abroad really advanced my academic goals. During this trip, I discovered just how many paths I can take with my major. I have discovered that I may want to think about going to law school and continuing my future in this way. I can also work in the government or as a translator. I have discovered so much about my future and how many different career paths I have.

One thought on “Summer Arabic Language Program – Amman, Jordan

  1. Johnna, I’m glad to hear that you were able to still find meaning and value in this experience even though it was your 3rd time studying abroad in the middle east. It’s awesome that you really enjoyed your host family- that can be hard when traveling internationally. It sounds like you had some really cool experiences. Thanks for sharing!

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