Fiona Bare

SIT Amman, Jordan

Describe your typical day: I would wake up, make sandwiches with my host mom while drinking Turkish coffee, and then take a taxi to class. Normally I’d walk to get falafel for lunch then after class I’d go to a nearby gym or taxi to a café with friends. In the evenings I’d go home and have dinner with my host family and watch TV with my host sisters before bed.

Favorite food discovered while abroad: Due to price and ease, falafel sandwiches. Abu Mahjoob was one of my favorite places to get falafel; it was sold out of a window and was super spicy.

What was your favorite part of the city to visit? My favorite neighborhood was Weibdeh. It’s full of nice cafes, is home to Amman’s art scene, and offers unrivaled views of the city. Occasionally the neighborhood would host art walks where live music would play and all the galleries would open. I started taking a yoga class at a studio there, and got to know the cool community of Jordanians and expats.

What was one highlight of your semester off-campus? I loved going to Wadi Rum and Petra in the south of Jordan. We went during a massive thunderstorm, so the park was empty and all the dust washed off the stones.

What was one challenge you faced during your semester off-campus? Moving in with a host family was harder than I expected. It was challenging to learn to navigate new familial customs and cultural and religious expectations. But now hardly a day goes by when I don’t talk to my older host sister.

Advice: SIT provides you with personal, professional, and academic connections that I really valued. There were moments when I wished I had more independence, but the program does a lot to make you feel comfortable and that security allows you to navigate Amman and Jordan on your own.