Arabic Language and Interdisciplinary Learning Program in Jordan

February 21, 2020

Students who are interested in beginning or deepening their study of the Arabic language and culture, linking it with their interest in Middle Eastern Archaeology, and/or embedding their language study within a five-week externship, should read on and consider applying for the program.

To offer flexibility, students can choose to enroll either in the online or in-person program depending on their preferences. Additionally, they have the option to mix and match between the Intensive Arabic Language Program and Supervised Externship Program for either 5 or 10 weeks, online or in-person. Both the Intensive Arabic Language Program and Supervised Externship Program will follow the same dates, so students can enroll in either for either session.

Opportunities for Summer 2022 include:

  • Session I: five weeks of intensive Arabic language learning (beginner through advanced), alongside a content course on a topic related to Jordan/the Middle East.
  • Session II: a second five weeks of intensive Arabic language learning (beginner through advanced) and a content course on a topic related to Jordan/the Middle East.
  • Externship: five weeks working with a local organization in Jordan accompanied by continued Arabic language learning.

You may find more information on the program below. Please contact Alice Lesnick ( or the Global Bryn Mawr office ( for more information.

Application Checklist

The applications will open at the beginning of February 2022.

Students from Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College wishing to apply to the program should follow the checklist below. The first link is the application through Sijal, which must be completed for acceptance into the program. The second link is intended for students who wish to receive funding for the program through Global Bryn Mawr. Both of these applications are intended for Bryn Mawr and Haverford students. The third and fourth links are to apply for funding for the externships and are college specific. We advise that you write your personal statement in a separate word document because it might be useful for multiple applications (i.e., to Sijal and for Global Bryn Mawr funding).

About Sijal

Sijal is an institute of Arabic language and culture founded by scholars of Arab culture, history, and society. They offer intensive instruction at all levels for students seeking to learn Arabic in Jordan. The Institute also acts as a hub of intellectual and cultural events, bringing together scholars, artists, and specialists across a broad range of expertise and disciplines, for seminars, workshops and special programs. The Institute is housed in a historic villa and gardens lying in the heart of the Rainbow Street cultural district of Amman. From this inspiring setting, they host students of the Arabic language, post-graduates working on the Middle East, researchers, artists, and the local intellectual community in Jordan and Palestine. Surrounded by some of the oldest buildings in Amman, the students learn ‘Arabic in context’, benefiting from first-rate language instruction in line with the latest pedagogy, as well as cultural and historical literacy. Immersion is reinforced by the location in a pedestrian neighborhood packed with local galleries, restaurants, and cafés, and with residents of all ages and walks of life. Courses and special programs are enriched by a full calendar of events that take place at the Institute, providing students with the unique opportunity to interact with creative figures from the Arab world and beyond.

About the Partnership

Since 2018 the Bi-Co Arabic Program and Global Bryn Mawr have been collaborating with Sijal Institute in Amman on the development of this program. Each year of the four-year pilot phase the model has evolved as the partnership has grown from a focus on language learning and cultural immersion to include a broader conception of Middle East Studies with a content course taught by Bryn Mawr faculty.

Dates for Summer 2022

  • Summer Session I: June 5-July 7, 2022
  • Summer Session II: July 17-Aug. 18, 2022
  • Externship: June 5-July 7, 2022/ July 17-Aug. 18, 2022
  • Study Trip: July 8, 2022 - July 16, 2022

Courses Offered Summer 2022

Arabic Language: All levels beginner through advanced. This is a required course you must take while at Sijal, which will be taught by Sijal faculty. (Sessions I and II)

Past, Present and Future: The Archaeology of Jordan and the Middle East: Home to awe-inspiring sites such as Petra, Jerash, and Pella, archaeology is an integral part of Jordan’s past, as well as its future. This course will introduce students to some of the major discoveries from Jordan, dating from the Paleolithic to the Ottoman periods, as well as to the modes of thought that underlie archaeological interpretation of this material. The course, more broadly, will focus on the role of archaeology within modern social justice issues around climate change, population movement, politics, identity, and cultural heritage management. We will consider how the Middle East has been studied—particularly with reference to colonial histories and their impact on traditions of inquiry—and assess where the archaeology of Jordan can challenge these narratives. By the conclusion of the course, students will have a deep understanding of both the built environment of the past, as well as how these spaces occupy contemporary landscapes and perspectives. The course will be taught in English by Matthew Jameson, a Visiting Assistant Professor in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College. (Session I)

Content Course: Cooking around the Arab World, The History of Arabic Music, The Syrian Crisis, Contemporary Arabic Literature and Poetry, the Palestinian Revolution, or Colloquial Jordanian Arabic through the Media, taught by Sijal Faculty. (Sessions I and II)

By successfully completing the first session of the program you will earn one academic credit that counts towards graduation. Participation in both Sessions will result in two academic credits that count towards graduation. Please note that the summer program will not take the place of the college language requirement. Rather, studying the language for a semester or two would allow you to test into a higher level of Arabic.


Students can opt to choose a supervised Externship. If interested, Sijal will give students a wide array of internship options and students will rank their top three choices. Sijal will then coordinate with the organizations and place students at one of their desired locations. Host organizations will be paid a stipend to ensure both accountability and equitable compensation for their work in supervising. Sijal will offer an orientation session to help guide students in navigating their work environment and a mid-semester reflection session to discuss students’ experiences while still at their work sites. Students who choose to do an internship, will also receive four hours weekly of private classes at Sijal, tailored to their level and their learning goals. Private classes are flexible, allowing students to work at their chosen organization alongside their Arabic studies and will help students better engage at their workplace, as they can tailor their classes to fit the needs that arise as they work here in Jordan. This option allows graduate students to work towards both their professional and academic goals. In the past students have externed with the American Center for Oriental Research (ACOR) and Rainbow Street. Funding for the externship will include cost paid to the organization, private tutoring in Arabic, and a stipend for the student.

Program Cost

  • Five weeks of online learning: $1,800
  • Ten weeks of online learning: $3,420
  • Five weeks in-person learning: $2,000
  • Ten weeks in-person learning: $3,600
  • Five week externship: $1,300
  • Ten week externship: $1,970
  • Eid Al Adha trip: $850

For in-person learning you will also need to budget in the price of a flight to and from Jordan and accommodations ($1,350 per student for 5 weeks; $2,700 per student for 10 weeks). You should also budget for a stipend to spend ($500 per student for 5 weeks; $1,000 per student for 10 weeks).

To confirm their place in the program, students will be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit of 300 USD. Students who discontinue their studies within the first week of enrollment are responsible for 50% of tuition and fees. Students who discontinue their enrollment after the first week are responsible for 100% of tuition and fees.

Tentative Class Schedule

The online classes will take place in the evenings Amman time (5-10pm), which is in the mornings in the US and the afternoon/early evening in Europe. In-person classes will take place between 9am-4pm Jordan time.

Study Trip

Students can opt to join Sijal for an all-inclusive four-day trip during the Eid Al Adha Break. The dates are tentatively set, but may shift a day or two depending on the moon sighting. The trip details are as follows:

Eid Al Adha Break: Friday, July 8th, 2022 - Saturday, July 16th, 2022

  • July 9th: Waqfat Arafa: students free to explore on their own
  • July 10th: First day of Eid: students free to explore on their own
  • July 11: Wadi Rum
  • July 12: Petra
  • July 13: Aqaba
  • July 14: Jerash/Ajloun


All American and EU citizens can receive a visa upon arrival. Visas are stamped at the airport upon arrival, they cost 40 JOD (roughly 60 USD) and are valid for one month from the date of entry. Within that first month, a member of Sijal staff will take students to the appropriate ministry to get their visa extended to three months. After the initial three-month extension, Sijal will also do a further three-month extension for students. Please note that the cost of the 16 entry visa (40 JOD) will not be covered in the program cost, however, Sijal will cover the cost of visa extensions for students. For non-US and EU passport holders who require securing a visa prior to traveling, we will assist Bryn Mawr staff to help students gather the necessary paperwork beforehand to acquire a visa to Jordan.


For all in-person classes and activities, we take extensive measures to ensure everyone's safety. All in-person classes are kept small for social distancing measures. Students are seated at least 6 feet apart and masks are mandatory inside the premises. The institute is sterilized daily, including sterilizing the air and frequently touched surfaces.

To ensure the safety of all, students or teachers who have come into close contact with infected persons or show symptoms of COVID-19 will be asked to continue their coursework via Zoom until they have received a negative PCR test. Any student who becomes ill with COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine for the full 14 days. Students with minimal symptoms may continue their coursework during the quarantine via Zoom. Should they have more difficult symptoms, they will of course receive excused absences from their classes.


Externship Application (through CPGC): February 13, 2022

Externship Application (through the Center): April 24, 2022

Application to Sijal: May 3, 2022

Global Bryn Mawr Funding Application: April 1, 2022

Confirmation of program attendance and enrollment deposit due: May 27, 2022

First Session orientation and tuition due: June 5, 2022

Last day to withdrawal for a partial refund: June 10, 2022

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