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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Maggie in Jordan

Notes from Abroad is a new feature on the Off-Campus Programs website, in which we highlight small snippets of a student’s experience.  This week’s feature is from Maggie Biedron ’16, an international studies major and Islamic World Studies minor, currently studying abroad at the ACM Jordan program.

Eid Mubarak!

First off, I would like to send my sincerest thanks to the Ingrid and George Speros Scholarship for Study Abroad for helping make this experience in ACM Jordan possible for me. I am eternally grateful for the scholarship, and cannot possibly express how much it meant to me and my family!

During Fall Semester, students at Amideast get a week long Eid break, during which we are allowed to travel. I went with a group of friends to live in a Bedouin Camp in Wadi Rum for three days. I fell in love with the desert during this time; the beauty of the canyons, the mountains, the beautifully colored sand all made me feel at peace and at home despite being in a vastly different environment. We were able to see this landscape a lot more during our five hour camel ride during the desert, which had its own moments of fun!

We also slept outside and were able to see the stars very clearly at this time, and it was in general a wonderful bonding experience both with classmates and with Bedouins, whose gracious hospitality allowed us to gain insight into their culture and lifestyle. We also at Bedouin food during this time, which they cooked under the ground and would use shovels to dig out! I was never a big fan of chicken, but the chicken that the Bedouins made for us was delicious. We ate this dinner around a campfire, during which the Bedouins would play music and dance with us. I also became a huge fan of Bedouin tea (which they called “Bedouin Whiskhey”) which they heated in a teapot by the fire.

In general, it was a wonderful time, and I loved hiking in the mountains of Wadi Rum, which in itself was challenging at times, but rewarding. I have always been a particularly shy person, and for a long time I’ve been worried that this was going to lead me to have trouble making friends, but Jordanians have been so open and kind to me that I don’t feel that nervousness anymore. The Bedouins we stayed with were open about their lives and their love for the desert and playing the Oud and drums, and it was great to get to know them so much. In the less than two months that I’ve been in Jordan, I already feel like a lot of me has grown emotionally, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!