A new summer study abroad option in Amman, Jordan, will replace the Office of International Programs’ offerings in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt, that were cancelled because of turmoil in the region last year.
Both summer and fall programs in Egypt were cancelled because of unrest with students originally signed up for semesters in Egypt.
The Jordan program will be the sole Georgetown summer provider of training in Modern Standard Arabic.
The announcement comes nearly eight months after the OIP cancelled the 2013 Summer Program in Alexandria due to safety risks, while the fall 2013 study abroad program at the American University in Cairo was cancelled in July in response to the violent protests in the streets against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
“We are sad to leave Alexandria, but obviously circumstances forced us to rethink, and the safety of our students is paramount. Jordan is quite stable,” Amman Program Co-director and department of Arabic and Islamic Studies professor Elliot Colla said.
“Being in Jordan will expose you to Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi and Jordanian dialects, whereas in Egypt the only dialect spoken on the streets or taught in the classroom was Egyptian,” Colla said.
Even though the OIP has halted programs in Egypt, they hope it is only temporary.
“We hope to reestablish our semester programs in Egypt once the safety and security situation improves,” Director of Overseas Studies Craig Rinker wrote in an email.
In order to participate in the Amman program, students are required to complete at least one year of college-level Arabic study as well as 10 hours of preparatory work on colloquial Jordanian Arabic through Skype sessions with instructors from Amman.
The program’s curriculum offers both second and third level MSA classes, as well as an intensive program worth 12 credits, equivalent to a full year’s worth of Arabic study at Georgetown.
“We believe that a distinguishing feature of this program is the ability for students to earn 12 Georgetown credits of Arabic language credit over a summer, coupled with exposure to the vibrant Jordanian culture,” Rinker wrote.
The Qasid Institute for Classical and Modern Standard Arabic will be the academic home for participants in the program, and students will have opportunities to attend trips within the country- to Petra, the Dana Nature Reserve, Salt, Jeresh and Irbid.
“We encourage [participants] to get out in the street, to have conversations with people. This is a very important part to learning the language,” Colla said.
In order to help introduce students to Arabic culture and Amman’s social life, the expected 20 participants of the program will live in double rooms at the American Center of Oriental Research, with tutors and language partners familiar with the culture and area.
When students are not exploring the region during the nine-week program, they will attend three hours of class each morning from Sunday through Thursday, and study colloquial Arabic for an additional three to fours hours per week. At the end of the program, students are required to take a diagnostic placement test, which will be compared to their original placement test, to determine the progress they made. Total costs for the program are currently estimated at $10,800, not including airfare.
The new program has generated excitement among Georgetown Arabic students.
“I think that living and studying in Amman for the summer would be a really cool opportunity,” Devika Ranjan (SFS ’17) said. “It’s such a culturally rich place, and it’s not as rife with internal political issues or as concerning safety-wise,” Ranjan said. “I’m planning on grabbing the opportunity while I can.”
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