Our experience in Jordan flew by! At the beginning of my family’s time there we dove right into the culture. We tried to make our time there as authentic as possible. We ate their food, learned their customs, and relished in the odd feeling of being in a totally foreign place. With time, we started missing our food, our customs, and the comfortable feeling of being home. We started doing little things like eating at McDonald’s (which was conveniently located above our supermarket), and planning and looking forward to coming back home.
Fast forward a few weeks. We constantly talk about the things we used to do in Jordan. We miss the fresh fruit and vegetables from the corner market. We miss taking taxis all over the city and playing soccer with the building manager’s little kids. We even thought about starting a Middle Eastern restaurant for goodness sakes! Now we are just planning for a return trip which we hope to do soon. I think the best part about being back is sharing our experiences with those we meet. They are ALWAYS fascinated to discover more about Arab culture and eager to overcome stereotypes. It is such a pleasure to meet somebody from Iraq or Jordan or Palestine and be able to speak to them in their own language and share common experiences.
Having now gone and come back, it has given us more time to think about what changes we will make as a result of our time in Jordan. Thinking about the abundance of everything that we have here helps us to live in a more sustainable and simple way. We are definitely more conscious about our the way we use water. We are more careful to finish all of the leftovers in the fridge instead of throwing them out. We try to feel less possessive of things in general and be as generous here as Jordanians were to us. These are just a few ways in which the study abroad has impacted us and has given us a little reverse culture shock. Though we are happy to be home, we miss Jordan like our home and strive actively to turn our experience into action and changing the way we live. We are so grateful to the Gilman program for providing this opportunity to attend this study abroad. We encourage all who are on the fence or have never considered going on a study abroad to set it as a goal and plan for it; you won’t regret it!