Witness the humanitarian response to the regional refugee crisis, focusing on refugee health, and explore the effects of the influx of refugees to Europe during a Switzerland excursion.
Visit Palestinian and Syrian refugee camps, host communities, healthcare facilities, UN agencies, international relief organizations, and local NGOs.
You’ll also visit UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency), United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Save the Children, and Jordan’s Ministry of Health. These field visits give you the opportunity to observe and experience program themes firsthand. You’ll learn about the priorities, principles, rights, and duties governing humanitarian action and the challenges UN agencies, international relief organizations, and Jordan’s government face in both emergency and post-emergency phases. You’ll also engage with local experts, professionals, aid workers, and students from Jordanian universities, most notably the Jordan University of Science and Technologies.
Take three or six credits of Modern Standard Arabic.
Modern Standard Arabic is offered at several levels. A component on Jordanian colloquial Arabic is part of the course. You can choose to take six credits in Arabic and one thematic seminar (Refugees and Displaced Populations in the Context of Jordan) or three credits in Arabic and two thematic seminars.
Learn about the political, social, cultural, and economic factors behind the influx of refugees to Jordan, a country that continues to receive waves of refugees displaced by regional conflicts.
Contrast the humanitarian response to Syrian refugees in Jordan and Switzerland.
Explore refugees’ challenges, such as identity crises, social exclusion, and risks relating to gender.
Travel to Geneva, Switzerland, to learn from experts at health and humanitarian agencies such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, World Health Organization, and International Red Cross.
Go on excursions to the Dead Sea, Mount Nebo, the ruins of Greek Decapolis cities, the Red Sea port Aqaba, Wadi Rum, and Petra.
Stay for three days with a Bedouin family in the Badia desert.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency healthcare system and the role of UN and international relief agencies in refugee assistance and humanitarian action
- The impact of refugees on the economy and various social sectors of the host community
- Health status, risk factors, and health services available to refugees and other vulnerable groups
- Socio-cultural, economic, mental health, and psychosocial challenges, such as identity crises and social inclusion, faced by refugees and displaced populations in Jordan
- Gender-specific vulnerabilities within refugee populations, with particular attention to issues of safety, discrimination, exploitation, and gender-based violence
- Protection and status of refugees and displaced populations in the Middle East and North Africa region
- The impact of Syrian refugees on Jordan’s economy, social sectors, and socio-political stability
- Principles and legal frameworks governing humanitarian action and minimum standards in humanitarian response
- Emergency and post-emergency health services for refugees and displaced populations
The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
Choose to take either the two thematic seminars and 3-credit Arabic language course OR the first thematic seminar and 6-credit Arabic language course.
Refugees and Displaced Populations in the Context of Jordan – syllabus
(MDES3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This seminar introduces students to the principles, guidelines, and laws related to refugee status and treatment as well as the legal responsibility of states to guarantee refugees’ right to assistance and protection. The seminar also explores the major challenges refugees face, such as identity crises, social integration, and cultural-contextual change, as well as the social, economic, and political impact of the successive waves of refugees on Jordan.
Refugee Health and Humanitarian Action – syllabus
(MDES3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This seminar examines firsthand the humanitarian relief action taking place in Jordan to provide assistance to Syrian refugees, with special emphasis on the health sector. The seminar addresses the principles, rights, and duties governing humanitarian action and looks into the challenges of providing assistance to refugees. The health status and risk factors of refugees and the health services available to them will be addressed, with special emphasis on vulnerable groups including women, children, and people with disabilities.
Beginning Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB1003-1503 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB2003-2503 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Advanced Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB3003-3503 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Beginning Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB1006-1506 / 6 credits / 90 class hours)
Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB2006-2506 / 6 credits / 90 class hours)
Advanced Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB3006-3506 / 6 credits / 90 class hours)
The language course is offered at different levels, and students have the option to take either three credits or six credits. The language course emphasizes speaking, reading, and writing skills in Modern Standard Arabic (Fusha) through classroom and field instruction. Students are placed in intensive beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing. A component on Jordanian Colloquial Arabic is also part of the course.
All students take the following two courses:
Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This seminar provides students with the necessary conceptual and methodological tools to undertake field study in Jordan. Students also learn the ethical and cultural considerations and procedures for conducting research with vulnerable populations such as refugees and displaced populations.
Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
The Independent Study Project is conducted in Amman or another approved location in Jordan appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: mental healthcare provision available to various populations, including refugees; the effect of daily stressors on Syrian refugee women; consequences of displacement on increased risks of domestic violence and gender-based violence; malnutrition in refugee children; refugee women’s empowerment and protection.
Program in a minute-ish
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Excursions help you learn about, analyze, and assess the humanitarian response to Syrian refugees and the socioeconomic impact of refugees on host communities and to hone your research skills. Excursions outside Jordan’s capital illustrate the sharp contrasts between urban and rural lifestyles.
You will visit health centers and associations providing health services to communities and urban refugees in host communities. You will experience everyday life in this part of Jordan and study alternative medical treatments. Highlights of this excursion include:
Dana Nature Reserve
The dynamic topography of the Dana Nature Reserve extends from the top of the Jordan Rift Valley to the desert lowlands of Wadi Araba. You will experience the reserve’s impressive mountains, the ancient ruins of Feinan, the cliffs of Wadi Dana, and the village Dana.
You will spend a day visiting Petra, a treasure of the ancient world and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Wadi Rum is among the most stunning desert landscapes in the world. Here, you will experience the exceptional hospitality of desert people and Bedouin tribes and discuss health issues and available healthcare systems.
Northern Heights Excursion
This excursion takes you to the ruins of two Greek Decapolis cities: Jerash (Jerasa) and Um Qais (Jadara) as well as Ajloun’s Nature Reserve and the area’s historical and natural attractions. Northern Jordan hosts more than 80 percent of Syrian refugees; this excursion will enable you to assess the impact of refugees on host communities. Highlights of this excursion include:
You will see the Greek and Ottoman ruins of Jadara and enjoy sweeping views over the Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee.
You will see the extraordinary ruins of ancient Jerash, one of the most impressive and best preserved Roman cities outside of Italy.
Ajloun is home to the Castle of Ajloun or Qalaat Errabadh. The fortress was built by Muslims in 1184–85 to protect the region from invading Crusaders. You will spend a night at the Ajloun Forest Lodge, which occupies a large clearing enclosed by oak, pistachio, and strawberry trees and offers beautiful views.
Madaba and Mount Nebo
Madaba is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of Palestine and the Nile delta in the 19th-century St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church. You will visit the site and explore a smaller Jordanian city, then travel to Mount Nebo, which, according to ancient tradition, is the mountain from which Moses saw the Promised Land.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is the most spectacular natural landscape in Jordan. It is also one of the world’s richest sources of natural salts and, with its therapeutic minerals, an important site for skin care.
You’ll spend most of your stay in Geneva, a major international capital. This excursion give you a chance to learn from experts about the international refugee system, the global refugee status, and the challenges health and relief agencies face in providing refugee protection and assistance. You’ll visit the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
You can also explore old Geneva, visit chateaus and fine arts and cultural museums, enjoy a cruise along the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva, and experience the city’s rich history, architecture, and cuisine. In nearby Lausanne, one of Switzerland’s prettiest cities, you can explore markets and the medieval Old Town.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Bayan Abdulhaq, PhD, Academic Director
Bayan holds a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences and an MSc in pharmaceutical analysis and quality control from King’s College, London. She holds a BSc in pharmacy from the University of Jordan, where she has taught drug delivery systems, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and analysis. She has extensive experience in educational quality assurance and was quality assurance director at TAG Graduate School of Business, part of the German Jordanian University. She served as board member and executive director of the Arab Organization for Quality Assurance in Education and as consultant for higher education institutions in Bahrain. She is a certified manager for organizational excellence by the American Society for Quality.
Bayan has more than eight years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry; she has been a production manager and medical affairs manager. She also consults on Good Clinical Practice. She is a licensed pharmacist, a member of the Pharmaceutical Union of Jordan, and a member of the Bioequivalence Committee at the Jordanian Food and Drug Administration.
Abdalkareem Lasassmeh, Operations Manager
Abdalkareem received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Mutah University in 2001 and an MS in computer information systems from Arab Academy in 2004. He has more than 14 years’ experience in education and training. During his tenure with the Arabian Education and Training Group, he ran joint graduate programs between US and Jordanian higher education institutions and was responsible for all aspects of the programs. The first program partnered Ohio University with the University of Jordan, al Beyt University, and Mutah University, and the second program joined Florida Atlantic University with al Balqa University.
Leena Jumah, MA, Program Assistant
Leena holds a BA in English for Specific Purposes from Jordan University of Science and Technology and an MA in translation from the University of Jordan. She has been a private tutor for English conversation and an academic counselor at Global Vision for Academic Services. She worked at the Presidency Unit at JUST and in the private sector.
Rawan Al Samaan, Homestay Coordinator
Rawan received her bachelor’s degree in finance from Amman Al-Ahliyeh University. She has been a homestay coordinator with SIT Study Abroad since 2014. She assists with homestay arrangements in Amman and rural areas and works with students and host families on cross-cultural communication. Rawan first worked with SIT in 2013 as a custom program assistant. She has experience in financial management, analysis, marketing, and strategic planning.
Riham Al-Naimat, Language Instructor
Riham holds a master’s degree in Arabic language and literature from Al-Albayt University. In 2009, she volunteered as an SIT Jordan language instructor for intermediate high and advanced Modern Standard Arabic. In 2010, she joined SIT full time. She was an Arabic instructor at the Jordanian Ministry of Education and an Arabic instructor and language coordinator at international schools in Saudi Arabia.
Rima Al-Akramawi, Language Coordinator
Rima holds a BA in English language and literature from Mutah University and is a certified translator and language proficiency interviews tester. Rima first taught Arabic for SIT in 2009. She became language coordinator in 2012. She worked as a language coordinator with the Peace Corps and as an Arabic instructor at the French Cultural Center of Amman and other institutions. She co-wrote a Jordanian Arabic textbook for non-native speakers.
Mohammad Lafee, Language Instructor
Mohammad holds a bachelor’s degree in English-Arabic translation from Zarqa University. From 2012 to 2014, he was an Arabic instructor at the Qasid Institute in Amman, where he taught foreign diplomats, university students, and businessmen. In 2014, he received a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant program scholarship and spent nine months in the US teaching Arabic and studying language instruction and American culture.
Ayman M. Hamdan-Mansour, RN, MSN, PhD, Lecturer
A professor of psychiatric mental health nursing and head of the community health nursing department at University of Jordan, Ayman holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Jordan and his PhD in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh. He has more than 50 publications in community and mental health prevention and promotion and has worked with international agencies including WHO, JICA, UNESCO, and USAID. He has consulted for the National Council for Family Affairs, the Jordanian Council, the Higher Population Council, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Education.
Ayman researches youth mental health, community mental health, and abuse of women and children. He also focuses on patients’ human rights and primary mental healthcare for war survivors. He has several national research awards and recognition letters and was reviewer for peer-reviewed national and international journals. He has supervised master’s theses and PhD dissertations.
Akihiro Seita, Lecturer
Akihiro has a medical degree from Kochi medical school in Japan, and was a research fellow at the Takemi Program in International Health at Harvard. He has directed health programs for Palestine Refugees in the Near East at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and has been World Health Organization (WHO) special representative at UNRWA since 2010. He started and expanded health reform projects with the Family Health Team and eHealth and initiated an innovative monitoring system for diabetes and hypertension, which was commended by The Lancet medical journal. Prior to working at UNRWA, he worked at WHO’s regional office in Egypt, which covers 22 countries in North Africa and the Middle East. He has worked with national governments and global partners, in particular the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, to expand the global tuberculosis control strategy known as DOTS.
I am now working full time at the University of Utah Hospital...
I am now working full time at the University of Utah Hospital as a heart failure and transplant study coordinator. I know I wouldn’t have been able to get this job without the independent research experience the SIT program provided me.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
The homestay provides you with an excellent opportunity to experience Jordanian lifestyles, perspectives, and values while learning about health disparities, community development, and sustainability in Jordan.
Except while on excursion, you’ll live with a family in Amman. The homestay provides an outstanding window into Jordanian urban life and culture. Most homestay families are middle class and maintain the customs of a typical Arab home.
Homestay families may include first- or second-generation Palestinian refugees, now major contributors to Jordanian social and cultural life. You will be integrated into your host family’s life, sharing meals and participating in family outings, shopping, and other activities. You may experience a Jordanian wedding ceremony or other traditional cultural activities. The homestay in Amman also gives you an opportunity to further enhance your speaking abilities in Arabic.
Other accommodations during the program include hostels, research institutes, or small hotels.
Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project
You will spend the last month of the program working on an Independent Study Project (ISP) in which you will conduct primary research on a topic of interest to you. The ISP is conducted in Amman or another approved location in Jordan appropriate to the project.
Sample ISP topic areas:
- The effect of daily stressors on Syrian refugee women
- Refugee women’s empowerment and protection
- Risk factors and prevalence of mental illness in refugees
- Displaced populations and the risk of domestic and gender-based violence
- Malnutrition in refugee children
- The effect of refugees on the health system in Jordan
- Impact of water shortage on the health of refugees
- Refugees’ resilience and integration
- Refugees’ health and human rights
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
- The international refugee regime
- Geopolitical background of refugees and displaced populations in the Middle East
- Socio-economic impact of refugees on Jordan’s economy and social sectors
- Gender-related risk of displacement
- Refugees and social identity: the challenges of relocation and integration
- Humanitarian action principles and minimum standards
- The status and challenges of providing healthcare to refugee populations during and after emergency phases
- The international humanitarian system
- Research Methods and Ethics course on research methods and Human Subjects Review to prepare students for successful completion of primary field research in Jordan for the Independent Study Project
- Intensive language instruction in Arabic
- All educational excursions to locations such as Petra, Wadi Rum, Dana Nature Reserve, Aqaba, and the international excursion to Switzerland, including all related travel costs
- Independent Study Project (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
Room & Board: $3,060
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Amman), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project (appropriate stipend provided), and during the final evaluation period.
- Homestay (twelve weeks in Amman)
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.
Estimated Additional Costs:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
Visa Expenses: $ 60
Books & Supplies: $250
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.