Story by Carizma Barrera, Campus Editor
The summer 2013 study abroad program to Ammam, Jordan was planned and organized. Sightseeing excursions, Arabic classes and cultural experiences were arranged. The only thing missing was the students.
Study abroad trips require a mini- mum of eight students. However, only two registered for the Jordan trip.
Arabic professor and trip orga- nizer Fahim Idais said safety concerns probably topped the list of reasons few students responded.
“There is a lot of misinformation, and misinterpretation with traveling to the Middle East,” Idais said.
“I was disappointed because stu- dents did not feel safe traveling to my home country.”
Amber Howard, a Middle Eastern studies major and student in professor Idais’ Arabic III class, was disappoint- ed when the trip was cancelled.
“I saw the Jordan trip as a wonder- ful way to immerse myself in a culture and language that I found beautiful and fascinating,” she said.
By summer 2013, the Arab Spring revolutions and the civil war in Syria — a country that shares a border with Jordan — had been well under way.
Howard said her mother was con- cerned at first, but relaxed after doing some research on Jordan.
“Day to day life in Jordan is safe,” William Hayden, Director of Interna- tional Programs at ACC said. “We’ve been given regional security to keep the students safe.”
Hayden said the Arabic study abroad program partnered with The Jewish Language Academy in Jordan. The JLA provided the host families, and conducted background checks on them to ensure the safety of the students. The group also arranged classroom facilities various activities.
In spite of the setbacks this sum- mer, organizers remain optimistic and a trip to Jordan is being planned for summer 2014. Although her trip fell through, Howard’s enthusiasm for the study abroad program has not wavered.
“I would encourage anyone with the means to go immediately,” she said.
Another study abroad trip to Jordan has been scheduled to take place from July 5 to Aug. 12, 2014. Applications are being accepted now through Feb. 28, 2014.