New Beginnings, First Impressions

! مرحبا

Hello from Jordan! It is currently 33oC and the sun is shining – it feels like midsummer and September is only days away. As I write, I can hear the Adhan (Islamic call to prayer) piercing through the sounds of traffic and commuting. This is my first time in the Middle East so everythhing feels very new and unfamiliar to me – I guess that’s a key part of the adventure!

I am living in Amman to study Arabic at the Qasid Institute as part of my year abroad for my BA Arabic and Persian degree at SOAS. I will be studying four hours a day, Sunday to Thursday and so will have to get used to a new work week. My accomodation and the language school are both quite far from the centre of Amman, but both a manageable distance by bus or taxi. I’ll have to get used to a new transport system too!

Some facts about Amman. Amman is the capital and largest city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. With a population of just over 4 million people, it is also the largest city in the Levant. Amman is an ancient city, with the earliest evidence of settlement dating back to 7000 BC. Throughout the ages, various empires have left behind traces of their civilizations, namely the Ammonites, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Rashiduns, Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mamluks, Ottomans, and British. Over the last 10 years, Amman has undergone an economic, cultural, and urban boom and is now a popular tourist destination.

The Citadel in Amman. Photo by Shashank Kumar on Unsplash.

There will be plenty of time for me to explore and see what Jordan has to offer, but today was a chance to settle and get my bearings. So I went to the supermaket. I was pleased that the small hypermarket had everything I could ever want or need. As you go round the supermaket, a recorded voice reads out on repeat the prices of various items that day. Spices are sold behind a counter and to specific quantities, resulting in a quick google translate search to work out the words for corriander (kuzbara) and turmeric (kurkum). I was capitvated by the section of fruit and veg, mainly because the aubergines and onions were huge compared to what we buy in Britain! It is clear that shape and asthetic of the vegetables are not valued here, but rather the quality and flavour are important.

I spent the remainder of the day resting and snoozing. The next few months are going to be full on, but after a year of staying in, I’m read for an adventure and to be immersed in Jordanian culture. I’ll be writing updates when I can, so do check back regularly to see what I’ve been up to!

! مع السلامة

Read more about my year abroad:


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