Nine students, five from Bryn Mawr College and four from Haverford College, attended the four-week study program at the Sijal Institute in Amman, Jordan, this past summer. The program was initially created to provide an opportunity for students who have completed studying the Arabic language at the intermediate level to further develop their Arabic skills in an Arabic-speaking environment. In its second year, the program was expanded to offer a political science course taught in English. There was an optional opportunity for internships following the month-long study program, which three students participated in. The faculty-led program took place from June 13 to July 13, 2019.
Sijal Institute is conveniently located in one of the most popular districts of Amman near the city center, providing an exceptional learning environment. All students were enrolled in dialect classes offered by Sijal's qualified Arabic language instructors. This allowed them the opportunity to engage with the community in which they were living. Four students continued with their study of Modern Standard Arabic and the other five enrolled in the political science course which focused on the contemporary Middle East.
Jordan has a history that goes back thousands of years with monuments that represent an array of civilizations. The students were immersed in the history and culture of the country through weekend trips to various places including Jerash, Karak Castle, Petra, and the Dead Sea. During their time in Amman, students were able to walk to nearby traditional markets, visit archaeological sites and art galleries, attend events such as film festivals, and eat at local restaurants, all of which allowed them to experience the history and culture of Jordan.