On MESP we believe that listening to lectures and reading textbooks are only a portion of the study abroad experience. So we’ve designed several additional program components to help you get the most out of living in the Middle East. These components are designed to complement your classroom learning and assist with your intercultural development.
When you arrive in Jordan, MESP staff will help you get acquainted with Amman during an intense five-day orientation. During that time, we’ll also go over the semester as a whole, including program details, student safety and our commitment to love and care for one another as part of our intentional community. Before traveling back to the U.S., you’ll spend a few days reflecting on the semester with MESP students and staff. We’ll talk about how you’ve changed, the joys and challenges of returning home and how you can integrate your experiences from the past few months into your life back home. We also set aside time for each member of our community to properly say goodbye to the students and staff who have become like family over the past three months.
Though you’ll live in your own apartments for most of the semester, you will spend just over a week in homestays. Political climate permitting, we will take a trip to Israel-Palestine during the semester where you will spend time living with a Palestinian family and a Jewish-Israeli family as part of our Conflict and Change course. Your hosts will be excited and ready to feed you, hear about your family and share their lives with you.
Not only are homestays some of the most fun -- and stretching -- times you’ll have on MESP but they’re also an important academic time. Living with families is the key to understanding the daily life, religion and culture and the conflict in Israel-Palestine. During Palestinian homestays you’ll also have plenty of opportunities to practice your Arabic.
You’ll spend part of the day with your host family (and the other MESP student(s) staying with you) and the other part in class or on field trips, where you’ll get to experience everything from meeting with government officials to Shabbat synagogue worship.
Once a week you will participate in service learning at a non-profit organization. This is a great opportunity for you to engage in your community, meet friends, work on your cultural adaptation skills and give back. Your exact placement will be determined after you arrive, but in previous years, students have spent time in schools, an orphanage, an elderly society, and training programs for people with mental handicaps. We will also develop crafted internships for intercultural and for peace and conflict studies majors, that will be built around the service projects.
In addition, MESP has worked with students & campuses to receive intercultural practicum credit during the semester. Contact [email protected] to discuss practicum credit!
Imagine, instead of sitting in class, dipping your feet in the Jordan river where Jesus was baptized, witnessing Muslim prayer inside the beautiful King Abdullah I mosque, enjoying a meal in the home of a bedouin sheikh, encountering the history of ancient Christians of Moab through sharing mensaf with their descendants, or looking out towards the “Promised Land” from Mt. Nebo, the spot where Moses had his last glimpse. Throughout the semester, we regularly have class on-the-go as we take trips around Jordan and the region.
Throughout the semester, there will be countless opportunites to participate in cultural activities and events, such as Palestinian dancing, engagement parties, belly dancing, and Jordanian cooking.