I arrived in Jordan with one suitcase, a carry-on, & an amalgam of emotions—anticipation, anxiousness, excitement. Most of all, I felt uncertain. The previous semester, I waffled over the decision to go abroad until I finally ended up impulsively submitting my application just before the program was filled. I chose a program in Jordan hoping to improve my minimal Arabic skills & to see a part of the world I’ve never travelled to before. My program theme revolved around refugee health & humanitarian action, which I hoped would help lend some clarity to my post-undergrad plans. Although my time in Jordan was cut short, I still came home with a renewed interest in both clinical medicine, public health, & nonprofit work. I also gained the audacious confidence to claim that my Arabic is not nearly as atrocious anymore.
I look back on the memories & relationships from my time in Jordan very fondly. Some of my favorite memories aren’t particularly extraordinary. I remember random conversations in the car with my host mom better than I remember what it felt like to swim in the Dead Sea for the first time (pretty sure it was just overbearingly salty). I felt comparable amounts of awe seeing Petra for the first time as I did when the vendor actually understood my timid attempt to order a falafel sandwich in Arabic. When you’re abroad, so many things are new. This can feel intimidating at times, but it also means that each experience is extraordinary & memorable in its own way. I can’t say for certain that study abroad changed me omg did I tell you I studied abroad last spring? but I can say with reasonable certainty that my semester abroad was an irreplaceable & precious experience I wouldn’t trade for anything else.