A Travellerspoint blog

Summer Language Program

...or when the regular teachers go on vacation

The Good

[*]Registration was super-easy. The form asked for my name, local phone number, and why I want to study Arabic. I attached a couple of passport-type photos (worst photos ever) along with a photocopy of my passport and gave it to the Language Center. Then I went to the registration office to hand in my 500JD. Then I opened a Cairo-Amman bank account with $20 (still not sure what that was about). I'm in. This was two days before classes stared.

[*]Jordan University is covered in trees. This is particularly nice 'cause summer in the Middle East is kinda hot. It's not really THAT much worse than, say, Sacramento. The difference is that there is almost no AC anywhere.


[*]The cafeteria: The tables have tablecloths. The food is excellent and very cheap. I can get a half roasted chicken and rice with yogurt and bottled water for 1.20 JD. Students ALL bus their own trays.

[*]Our teachers are EXCELLENT

The Bad

[*]Maybe the first teachers we had weren't so excellent.

[*]My walk to school is 10 minutes along a busy, crazy, noisy, filthy, four (or maybe six - hard to tell) lane road with taxis, service taxis, local busses, and big busses pulling in and out along the whole way. Anyone who knows me knows that I shouldn't be anywhere near three-ton hurling masses of metal within two hours of waking up.
I must note though, that drivers in Jordan are leagues more sane and courteous than, say, Syria. But. DANG.

By the way, the writing on the McDonald's sign says 'Macdownaldz', phonetically speaking:

The Funny

[*]I can find my way to the lanuage program director's office with my eyes closed.

The first teacher we had began class by putting up random words on the board - at least we think they were words as no one had yet covered the arabic alphabet with us. Many of the students were yelling at him to cover the basics - this was moot because he spoke no English. Another guy came in - some administrative dude. He spoke English and, I think to pacify the mob, began teaching the class. The other guy just walked out. It took about five minutes to realize we had just taken a big step down in teaching quality. After class, a delegation went to the director's office to 'give feedback'.

The next day, the first teacher was organized and teaching close to our level. But the second teacher came in and it turned out to be the same overwhelmingly horrible guy that we had the day before.

I was part of the second delegation.

The director agreed to let us keep the first teacher for both classes each day. We were satisfied.

The NEXT day, we indeed had the same decent teacher. But apparently he could only maintain a sense of organization for that one initial class period. Over a period of one week, all the students (exept one) slipped out of his class and into the other Level One class being taught by two women. My defection was rather difficult because he tried to stop me and kept redirecting me back to the his room. Then he stood in the doorway of the other room so I couldn't get in and proceeded to get into a long discussion with the teacher of the other section (who at this point had already started class). I waited outside for my sentence. Eventually, I was allowed to pass into the room.

THEN, the....what is he, exactly....department logistics type guy came in and said we had to go back to the other guy's room; that there were too many people in one class. Many of us spoke up and said that we would get our money back before we'd go back to class with that guy. He said we needed to talk to the director.

Delegation #3. We couldn't get in to his office. We talked between two different go-betweens. Eventually we were sent the message to go to the class we had chosen and they would talk to us later.

Now - We're still in the excellent class. Insha'allah we will stay there.

Posted by jenofear 05:53 Archived in Jordan

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I hope you got to stay in the good class. The weather there has to be better than Sacramento even if it is a few degrees hotter. It's so smoky here that it blurs the house across the alley from me. It's been like that for weeks (although it did clear up for a few days a week ago).

by DaveSmith

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