How to get the most out of a trip to Jordan
August 19, 2012 11:48 PM   Subscribe

My employers are paying me to travel somewhere in the Middle East for two to three weeks for "professional development," with the aim of getting Arabic immersion experience outside of the gulf. I'm looking for some interesting things to do. Details below the fold.

Jordan is at the top of the shortlist, as it seems to have the best balance of security and native-speaking population. Currently, my plan is to show up, see some friends in the area (non-Arabic-speakers) and spend time in the less-expat-saturated areas of Amman. I've also been toying with the idea of trying to shadow someone at one of the local newspapers in Amman. I'm looking for ideas to have as much contact as possible with the language.

posted by cirgue to Travel & Transportation around Jordan (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would think you could get far more out of the experience by attending an immersion school in your target country. I think you'll find most Jordanians will be more eager to speak to you in English than helping you learn Arabic.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:18 AM on August 20, 2012

PorcineWithMe is right. People will speak to you in English, and they'll be really excited to do so. You could spend 3 weeks in Amman and never have to say more than Salaam-u Alaykum. Maybe look for a tutor or conversation buddy? Someone you can practice Arabic with who can also show you around? (And are you interested in colloquial or classical? A language immersion school will focus on classical.)
posted by namemeansgazelle at 6:44 AM on August 20, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses everyone. A little bit of clarification: I'm where I want to be in Fusha, and my ayamia is not terrible, but I want more practice using it in daily life. Right now, I speak Arabic on a semi-regular regular basis, but it's mostly specialized vocabulary instead of general conversation sort of stuff, and my accent is still a hodgepodge. I know two weeks is not nearly enough time to remedy these problems, but I would like to be in a situation where most people speak the same dialect for once (which hasn't yet happened in the course of my Arabic education) and try to pick up as much as I can.
posted by cirgue at 11:13 AM on August 20, 2012

Ok, since you know more Arabic than the average joe, why not find a volunteer organization? If a more relaxing adventure is what you have in mind, what about finding a family (friend, friend of a friend) to stay with?

I do think you are Probably going to have to really emphasize that you want to speak in Arabic only. Otherwise it's going to be tons of people practicing their English on you. I loved my time in Jordan! The people are spectacularly friendly and welcoming. Enjoy your trip.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 8:54 AM on August 21, 2012

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