Jordan--Water: Amman (Summer)

Jordan—Water: Amman (Summer)


Explore innovative approaches to water supply in Jordan, one of the world's driest countries and a location facing increased water needs due to climate change and a growing population that includes Syrian refugees.

  • Study with experts from premier institutions such as the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Water, Energy, Environment Center at Jordan University, and the Hashemite Fund for  Development of Jordan Badia.
  • Develop a small-scale innovative project that addresses a water shortage problem.
  • Study the impact of refugees on water use and availability.
  • Explore local partnerships with refugee women’s and community groups on the frontline of water shortages.
  • Gain unique insights to water challenges through site visits to the Valley of Jordan, the Dead Sea, water treatment plants, sustainable agriculture sites, and Bedouin communities in the Badia.

Water Shortage and Innovation

rural Jordan

During the summer of 2013, as temperatures rose and pipes ran dry, protests sprang up throughout northern Jordan. But every crisis presents opportunity, and Jordan is developing innovative approaches to water shortages, storage, and supply. Jordan’s approach to water shortage includes ambitious and large scale aquifer projects alongside new and old appropriate technologies of rainwater catchments and greywater treatment systems.

Based in Amman, Jordan’s capital, the program explores the interplay of small and large scale appropriate technologies using the refugee population as a lens to better understand innovation that works for a region already running dry. You will be introduced to basic principles of water supply, delivery, and shortage in Jordan, with a focus on innovative responses both at the local community and regional levels. In a field-study context, you will learn from local engineers, community groups, and policy-makers about emerging resilient practices, ideas for water shortage and supply, and long-term stability.

Collaborative Project

You and your fellow students will engage in a hands-on project, collaboratively with a community organization, to explore innovative responses to water needs, including domestic needs for health and hygiene, urban gardening, and education in water management. The project encourages you to take a local and regional approach in considering a very serious environmental challenge with transnational dimensions. You will learn from and collaborate with ongoing projects and have the opportunity to develop a more rounded knowledge about local ingenuities regarding water catchment and greywater treatment as you share your own ideas and input regarding existing issues. Final projects are designed collaboratively by students, water engineers, and local communities. 


None. Students with an interest in engineering, economics, development, and/or environmental studies are especially encouraged to apply.

Access virtual library guide.

The syllabus linked below is from the forthcoming course offered on 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 syllabus can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Water – syllabus
(ILAB3030 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
An interdisciplinary course that introduces students to the basic principles of water supply, delivery, and shortage in Jordan, with a focus on innovative responses at grassroots and regional levels. Students will engage in a hands-on project with a community organization to explore innovative responses to water needs, which could include domestic needs for health and hygiene, urban gardening, or education in water management.

Excursions and Field Visits to Refugee Camps and Arid Lands

rural JordanYou will gain insights to water challenges through excursions and site visits to refugee camps, the Valley of Jordan, the Dead Sea, water treatment plants, sustainable agriculture sites, and Bedouin communities in the Badia. You will also learn about contemporary local and regional issues relating to realities of arid countries, how the supply (or lack thereof) of resources affects both internal and intra-regional dynamics, and the organizations and efforts underway to resolve these issues. You will also learn about the challenges of agriculture in arid lands and gain firsthand knowledge about appropriate technologies for sustainable water use and treated waste water reuse.

Dr. Raed Al-Tabini, Academic Director

Dr. Raed Al-Tabini, a Jordanian national, holds a PhD in arid and semi-arid land

management (rangeland management) and community development from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in the UK, which he received in 2002. He is a former deputy president of the Badia Research and Development Center (BRDC) in Jordan. Dr. Al-Tabini has managed a variety of development projects in the Middle East and North Africa on such diverse topics as community-based rangeland rehabilitation, management of scarce water resources, and development of sustainable livelihoods in agro-pastoral communities. He also collaborated on the set-up of the Badia Center for Ecological Education. Dr. Al-Tabini is a frequent presenter at international conferences and is well published in the field of sustainable development; he has published more than 25 academic papers and reports. His work has included papers on the following topics: medicinal plants and ethnopharmacology in the Badia regions of Jordan; the importance of local knowledge on effective government programs—environmental, social, and otherwise; water scarcity in Jordan within a local and regional context; and rangeland rehabilitation methods, exercises, and results. His research features both theoretical and applied approaches to the subjects of study. Additionally, he has served as an academic director with SIT Study Abroad in Jordan since the summer of 2007, first with SIT's Water and Environmental Policy in the Middle East program. In 2007, he also became academic director for SIT's Modernization and Social Change program. Through these programs, Dr. Raed manages a full-fledged study abroad program, hosting around 30 students each semester, including individualized programs during the summer semesters. His work involves developing curriculum, organizing guest lectures from experts in diverse fields, managing a staff and their umbrella projects, and arranging field research and excursions. He also delivers lectures on water and environmental policy and co-teaches a course on research methods and ethics. The SIT program is heavily research-oriented, and Dr. Raed directly supervises the research portion of the program, ensuring ethical standards are met and that the research is thoroughly professional, academic, and topical to the program of study.

The program includes urban and rural homestays. You will have the opportunity to experience very different perspectives on water shortage and resource management.


AmmanYou will live for three weeks with a family in the modern capital city of Amman. The homestay will provide you with an outstanding window into Jordanian urban life and culture. Most homestay families are middle class and enjoy high standards of living, while maintaining the customs of the typical Arab home. You will be integrated into your host family's daily life, partaking in everyday activities such as sharing breakfast, participating in family outings, and shopping. In some cases, you will have the opportunity to experience a Jordanian wedding ceremony or other traditional cultural activities organized by the host family or relatives.

Badia (Bedouin homestay)

You will experience a three-day rural homestay in the Badia desert area of Jordan, living with a Bedouin family that is either nomadic or semi-nomadic. This excursion will give you the opportunity to experience firsthand the daily life, culture, and traditions of a Bedouin community, one of Jordan's most distinct and well-known groups. You will learn firsthand how Bedouin families deal with water shortage.

  • Jordan—Water: Amman (Summer) is available only in the summer semester.
  • The summer semester generally begins in mid-June and ends in mid-July.

Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.

Application Deadline:   Apr 1, 2016

SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.

Tuition: Not yet available.

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lectures
  • All field visits and educational excursions to locations such as the Valley of Jordan, the Dead Sea, water treatment plants, the Dana Nature Reserve, and the Royal Botanic Garden
  • Health insurance throughout the entire lab period

Room & Board: Not yet available.

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire lab period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Amman), on all excursions, and during the evaluation period.
  • All homestays (Amman and the Badia area)
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered by SIT Study Abroad, directly or 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.

Immunizations: Varies

International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.

Discretionary Expenses

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.


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