Middle East Semester in Jordan


This innovative program introduces undergraduates to the diversity and complexities that shape the modern Middle East.  Through a focus on civil society, politics, language and the environment, participants will encounter the complexities of this crucial region. Based in the vibrant city of Amman, this program allows students to explore the area through homestays, a range of courses, language study, educational and cultural excursions, individual research and interaction with University students. Specially-designed area studies courses are offered in archaeology, economics, history, international relations, communication, literature, politics and religion, in addition to Arabic. Earlham College and The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) Language and Culture Program are partners in this educational experience.

Amman has a unique blend of historic and modern elements. Its history goes back at least 5000 years and ancient ruins can be seen in the center of the city, yet much of the city only dates back to the 1970's. It is a city of contrasts with traditional marketplaces and large, modern shopping malls. Amman became the capital of Jordan in 1921 and has since grown rapidly into a metropolis with over 2.5 million people. The city serves as the political, cultural and commercial center of Jordan and plays a significant role in the region. It is also the home of inhabitants from all over the Middle East.

Living Arrangements

Students will have a homestay experience throughout the semester. Living in private homes gives participants the opportunity to practice Arabic and to learn about culture and life in Jordan.


Click here to apply online for the Jordan Program.


Pre-Departure and Post-Return Courses

Students accepted to the program are required to participate in the Cross-Cultural Explorations I course (1 credit) prior to departure and Cross-Cultural Explorations II (1 credit) after returning from the program. Pre-departure preparation is designed to prepare students for a cross-cultural experience and includes readings, lectures and discussions with faculty and former participants of the program. Students and parents/guardians will receive a handbook of important program information prior to commencement of the program. The on-site orientation will include cultural and gender awareness training, safety and security, emergency procedures, homestay preparation and introductory sessions with program faculty. Following return to campus, students will participate in a 7-week course that will guide them in processing, analyzing and building upon their off-campus experience. Credit for Cross-Cultural Explorations I is dependent upon successful completion of the semester program.

Courses and Credits 

Participants will earn a total of 18 semester credits for successful completion of the program. Students' grades for program courses will be incorporated into the Earlham GPA. Courses are taught by local faculty and the Resident Director. Course offerings and institutions are subject to change. Courses include:

  • Arabic Language (two courses) - Students will be placed into the appropriate level of Arabic, whether that is beginner or advanced levels. Participants are required to take two language courses:  one Arabic modern standard course and one colloquial Jordanian Arabic course. Essential for functioning in everyday life, colloquial Jordanian Arabic is the language of spoken communication and is used in domestic, intimate, and informal settings in the home, the workplace, and among friends and acquaintances.
  • Area Studies courses (two courses) - The CIEE Study Center in Amman offers study abroad students a series of specially-designed area-studies courses in such fields as archaeology, economics, history, international relations, literature, politics and religion. Area studies courses provide an overview of issues relevant to Jordan and the broader Middle East region. Participants will enroll in two area studies courses and will choose among a variety of topics. 
  • Studying Jordan: Theory and Practice - This course is designed for Earlham students only if there are 6 students participating in a given semester. It will be taught by Dr. Elena Corbett and Ms. Zein Nsheiwat. This course is designed to use Amman in particular (and Jordan in general) as a lens for executing a sophisticated research project with advanced knowledge of the environment in which participants are studying. It is meant to engage both the theoretical and practical aspects of students' experiences in Amman - Arabic, area studies, day-to-day life - and to help students apply these experiences to a research topic of their choice.

Academic Programs



The cost of the program will be the equivalent of one semester of Earlham College tuition, fees, room and board. The program covers academic and educational costs, including cultural events and group excursions, as well as room and board costs during the academic portion of the program. A deposit of $350 is required after acceptance to the program, which is part of the total cost. Students covered by financial aid may apply their aid to one Earlham or Earlham-approved off-campus program during their college career.

Additional Costs

Costs not covered by the program include trans-Atlantic travel, passport and visa fees, personal expenses, books, and costs of the independent travel period during spring break.


Details about transportation will be discussed during Cross-Cultural Explorations I. Students will be responsible for making their own travel plans both to and from the program location. 


This program is open to undergraduate students of all academic backgrounds and majors in good academic and disciplinary standing with the College. Final selection of participants will be made by a student and faculty selection committee. There are no course pre-requisites. One semester of Arabic language is encouraged.


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