You've heard a great deal about the Middle East, but the region is vast and ever-changing. Read the FAQ below to find out more about your location!
You'll also spend nearly three weeks traveling to neighboring countries in the Middle East to get a wider breadth of regional understanding. The travel itinerary changes each semester, but in recent semesters MESP has traveled to Israel-Palestine, Egypt, and Morocco.
Of course, every climate has its exceptions. In December 2013, the Middle East saw its biggest snowstorm in 20 years! MESP shared some great images on Facebook to chronicle the historic snowfall.
In Jordan, you'll spend most of your time in and around Amman, with trips to places like Jerash, Madaba, Mt. Nebo, Jesus' Baptism site, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, and Petra. Many of these are day trips, but a few take place during weekends, allowing you to spend more time exploring and experiencing the culture.
In the final month of your semester, you’ll take a two to three week tour of the Middle East, where you’ll have the chance to hear from local speakers, sleep under the stars in the desert of Wadi Rum, visit the world wonder of Petra, ride camels, see the Pyramids, and walk the streets of some of the world’s oldest cities. The group will spend about a week each in two to three different countries. Recent destinations have included Morocco, Egypt, and Israel-Palestine!
How can you get in touch with MESP classmates and new local friends? How will you stay up to date on what is happening back home? Communication and technology work a bit differently in Amman than in the United States. Read the FAQ below to find out more.
Or, if you have a phone with wireless internet and international call or data capabilities, you will be able to use that in Amman.
What do you need to know before you step on that plane? Read the FAQ below to find out.
To apply for a passport or renew your current passport, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html/
If you are a citizen of a country other than the US or Canada, you may need to apply for an entry visa prior to travel to Jordan or another country to which you will travel during MESP. If this applies to you, please send an email to [email protected]!
Academic learning has rarely been this adventurous. Whether in or out of the classroom, you'll be learning through experience, immersion, and service. Read the FAQ below to find out more.
This model provides a powerful academic and emotional support structure; you and your classmates will experience everything alongside one another. When you're drawing connections between what you just learned in Conflict and Change in the Middle East and a verse that was shared at devotions that morning, you'll have a family of peers to share in that discovery.
Introduction to Arabic Language (4 or 6 credits)
Islamic Thought and Practice (4 credits)
Conflict and Change in the Middle East (The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict) (4 credits)
Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (4 credits)
Since MESP is independent of the schedules and facilities of a host university, the program is free to blaze its own academic curriculum: it can adapt to take advantage of current events and opportunities.
MESP also offers students the chance to immerse themselves in local culture. These activities are completely optional, but great fun! Students may have opportunity to learn a Palestinian dancing called Dabka, or belly dancing (women only - sorry men!), Tabla drumming, and even Jordanian cooking.
For detailed descriptions of MESP courses, visit the MESP Academics page: https://bestsemester.com/locations-and-programs/middle-east/academics
If you have more questions about Arabic study in the Middle East, please contact [email protected]!
One of the most thrilling and challenging aspects of learning about Middle Eastern culture is actually participating in it. How will you connect? How will they respond? Read below for help in answering these questions.
But once you branch out from the familiar, you'll discover singular coffee shops and restaurants where you'll experience the true tastes of the Middle East: pitch-black Arabic coffee, or shawarma, falafal, mansaf and kanafe. And, unlike in your average North American city, there won't be a confusing public transportation system to learn. Taxis, which are affordable and readily available, will be your main means of transportation.
Amman is also culturally and religiously unique. The city is predominantly Muslim, so you'll hear the muezzin sing the call to prayer from minarets across the city five times a day. The Jordanian culture combines Middle Eastern modesty and devout religious practice, which means you'll see more women with headscarves and fewer men wearing shorts. You'll bargain with shopkeepers to buy souvenirs; you'll grow adept at learning how you're expected to interact with the opposite sex; and you'll begin to see your own Western culture in a very different way.
Community and Daily Life
Read the FAQ below to find out more about everyday life in the Middle East!
Some students and parents worry about whether it is safe to study in Amman and travel in the Middle East. Rest assured: safety is the number one priority of the Middle East Studies Program. See below for common questions about security.
Rest assured that the MESP team takes the same precautions in Amman and when traveling to surrounding countries. And, ultimately—as in any region or circumstance—the MESP team puts their trust in God, practicing a balance of wisdom, caution, and common sense. As followers of Jesus, we ask: Is this a time in history when God would have us to be present in the Middle East? We feel the resounding answer is, YES!