Jordan | Summer Abroad | Modern Standard Arabic | Amman | Petra

Jordan: Intensive Arabic Language Studies (Summer)

Rapidly learn or improve your Arabic language skills through intensive language study in Jordan.

This program gives students of wide-ranging levels, including beginners, an exceptional opportunity to learn Arabic through full immersion in Jordan. Through classroom learning, homestays, and field-based ex­ercises, you will learn and improve your usage and understanding of Modern Standard Arabic and Jordanian Colloquial Arabic. You will be fully immersed in an Arabic-only environment.

Major topics of study include:

  • Competencies in speaking, listening, reading, and writing
  • Communication in a variety of situations with native Arabic speakers, incorporating cultur­ally appropriate gestures
  • Stories from the local Jordanian press and other Arab media outlets (ARAB 3000 students only)
  • Conversational proficiency as a solid foun­dation for further learning
  • The tools necessary to increase language proficiency independently

Live with a Jordanian family, master Arabic, and explore awe-inspiring Petra on this program in Jordan.

I wasn’t just studying Arabic this past summer in Jordan; I was living it.

Shane Evans, Colorado State University


The Jordan: Intensive Arabic Language Studies program gives students of wide-ranging levels, including beginners, an exceptional opportunity to learn Arabic through deep and meaningful integration in the cultural context of Jordan. Through classroom learning as well as time in the field, you will learn and improve your usage and understanding of Modern Standard Arabic and Jordanian Colloquial Arabic. Complementary educational excursions outside of Amman reveal Jordan's rich heritage, culture, and geography while providing exceptional opportunities for you to practice your enhanced language skills. 

Program Objectives

Arabic class in JordanYou will acquire not only basic vocabulary but the practical communication skills, including culturally appropriate gestures, necessary to communicate in a variety of everyday situations with native speakers.

Specific course objectives include:

  • Learning autobiographical data (including names, state of health, description of family and home, and city of residence), along with appropriate cultural signs and gestures  
  • Mastering proper pronunciation 
  • Engaging in simple conversations on a range of everyday topics 
  • Learning how to give and receive directions 
  • Ordering food and drink and reading a menu in a traditional Arabic restaurant 
  • Using the number system, telling time, and understanding how to deal with money in Arabic 
  • Reading and telling selected stories in Arabic; this helps develop and enhance listening comprehension skills 
  • Writing a 100-word essay in Arabic about topics related to everyday life  
  • Communicating comfortably at a basic level with native speakers  
  • Developing the tools necessary to increase language proficiency independently 
  • Developing conversational proficiency as a solid foundation for further learning

AmmanSIT Center

All Arabic classes in Amman take place at the SIT center located in the neighborhood of Abdoun, an upscale community in West Amman. Abdoun Circle, a hub for restaurants and cafes, is approximately 10 minutes by foot from the SIT center, making it highly accessible to program participants. Classes are held at the center from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM, Sunday through Thursday. The center offers a number of important amenities including a language and cultural library, a quiet study room, wireless internet, and satellite TV broadcasting live Arabic news channels.  


Amman, the modern and ancient capital of Jordan, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city's modern buildings blend with the remnants of ancient civilizations. You will discover the city's profusion of gleaming white houses, kebab stalls with roasting meat, and tiny cafes boasting rich Arabian coffee. Amman is well known as a welcoming and relatively small city, and students frequently explore the city's many hidden treasures by foot. 

While in Amman, you will have the opportunity to visit the Roman Amphitheater, an imposing monument set into the side of a mountain. The amphitheater is one of Amman's most impressive cultural assets, built under Emperor Antoninus Pius (138–161 AD).

The Jordan Festival

You may have the opportunity to attend the Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts, an annual international cultural event featuring famous Arabic poets, singers, and writers. Jerash is one of the most famous and well preserved Roman provincial cities in the world and since 1980 has been the host of this major international festival. Past programs have included the Moscow Ballet's Cinderella, a flamenco performance by Ara de Madrid, a contemporary dance play by Jollanar from Syria, and a Japanese poetry and music performance by Keiko Koma, among many other performances.

Access virtual library guide.

Based in Amman, this intensive field-based Arabic language immersion program uses a content-based approach. Students engage in an Arabic-only environment of classroom instruction, field exercises, and homestays to learn Arabic and Arab culture. The emphasis of the course is Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), with additional instruction in Jordanian Colloquial Arabic. Students gain an understanding of Arabic diglossia and proper usage of MSA versus colloquial. Students at an advanced proficiency level will have a Media Arabic component built into the curriculum. 

Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses 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 syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Beginning Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB1009 / 9 credits / 135 hours)
Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB2009 / 9 credits / 135 hours)
Advanced Modern Standard Arabic and Media Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB3009 / 9 credits / 135 hours)
The courses are designed to equip students with a proficiency level in spoken Modern Standard Arabic to prepare them to engage in everyday communication by addressing the four basic skills of the language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing for non-beginners, students are placed in beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes. Courses are designed not only to help students acquire Modern Standard Arabic, but also to learn Jordanian Colloquial Arabic and attendant cultural aspects of Jordan. Cultural awareness is reinforced through field exercises and the homestay experience. In addition to daily scheduled classes, students participate in field-oriented educational visits to further enrich their language experiences. Courses are also designed to help students gain an understanding of Arabic diglossia and proper usage of Modern Standard Arabic versus colloquial. Students at the advanced level have a Media Arabic component built into the curriculum. This component focuses on the acquisition of specialized vocabulary used in print and electronic media in the Arab world. Students read, listen to, and analyze stories from the local Jordanian press and other Arab media outlets.

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

JordanCarefully designed educational excursions highlight Jordan’s ancient history and present-day resources, cultures, and communities while granting you an exceptional opportunity to continue improving your Arabic language skills outside Amman. Excursions outside Jordan’s bustling capital allow you to experience the sharp contrasts between urban and rural life.  

Badia (Bedouin Community)

This excursion will give you the opportunity to explore Jordan’s Badia area where you will experience the daily life, culture, and traditions of a Bedouin community, one of Jordan’s most distinct and well-known groups. As they are known in Arabic, the Bedu, or "desert dwellers," have learned to survive and endure the unforgiving climate of the desert. It is difficult to know the exact size of the Bedouin community, but it is generally known that the majority of Jordan's current population is of Bedouin origin. Today, the majority of Jordan's Bedouin population lives in the vast wasteland that extends east from the Desert Highway. All throughout the north, south, and east of Jordan, Bedouin communities are marked by their characteristic black goat-hair tents, known as beit al-sha'ar, or "house of hair."

You will travel on your own to visit your carefully selected Bedouin family. The excursion takes place during the fourth week in the program and lasts for a minimum of two nights.

North and South Jordan

This five-day excursion will take you to both North and South Jordan. You will receive customized Arabic lessons in a field-based setting; lessons focus on the sites and communities you visit, and you will enjoy highly interactive conversations about the places you experience. You will be engaged in Arabic practice from the time you leave Amman until your return; this includes language practice during periods of travel.

camelsHighlights of this excursion include:


You will experience the extraordinary remains of the ancient city of Jerash, one of the most impressive and best preserved Roman cities outside of Italy, located a little less than 50 kilometers north of Amman.


Just northwest of Jerash is located the town of Ajloun, home to the Castle of Ajloun or Qalaat Errabadh (Arabic for "Hilltop Castle"). The fortress was built by Muslims in 1184–85 as a military fort and buffer to protect the region from invading Crusader forces. You will spend a night at the Ajloun Forest Lodge, which occupies a large grassy clearing, enclosed by oak, pistachio, and strawberry trees and offers beautiful views of the reserve; occasionally one can see as far away as Jebel Sheikh in Lebanon.  

The Dead Sea

Located approximately 33 miles southeast of Amman in the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea is the most spectacular natural landscape in Jordan. In addition to being one of the lowest points on Earth, the Dead Sea is the world's richest source of natural salts.   

Wadi Mujib

You will have the opportunity to explore Wadi Mujib, a spectacular gorge in Jordan that enters the Dead Sea. The Mujib Reserve of Wadi Mujib is the lowest nature reserve in the world.  


You will experience the ancient city of Aqaba, an important port city in Jordan. Aqaba’s history dates back to 4000 BCE. Also known as Ayla, Aqaba was once ruled by the Mamluk Sultan from Egypt.  

Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum lies about 200 miles southwest of Amman and 42 miles north of Aqaba and is among the most stunning desertscapes in the world. In Wadi Rum, you will experience the exceptional hospitality of the desert people and Bedouin tribes. You may share mint tea or cardamom coffee in the Bedouins’ tents or join them by the fire under a starry desert sky.  


You will spend a day visiting Petra, a treasure of the Ancient World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Petra also has the distinction of being one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Prior to arrival in the Rose-Red City, you will receive an intensive academic lecture about Petra. Following the lecture, you will spread out in pairs and small groups to explore the city to experience firsthand the topics covered during the lecture. The visit concludes with a debriefing and conversation in Arabic.

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 Dana village. You will receive a customized lesson about the reserve and engage in two debriefing sessions conducted in Arabic. As in Petra, you will be expected to read a text in Arabic about the site, which is followed by a question-and-answer session.

Yasir HamedYasir Hamed, Academic Director 

Yasir Hamed has recently completed doctoral-level research in transformative education and language learning pedagogies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is currently conducting research in the area of language and culture content and its effects on language acquisition. His research is focused on the integration of immersion techniques into the teaching of foreign languages and incorporating culture into the language curriculum. 

Mr. Hamed has more than 14 years’ experience teaching Arabic. He is a lecturer of Arabic at Fairfield University. He is the founder of the Arabic Language Learning Program (a private academic organization that develops new Arabic programs in area universities) in New Haven, Connecticut, and has taught Arabic at Yale University and in the Rassias Accelerated Language Programs at Dartmouth College. He has successfully developed Arabic language programs at several US institutions, including Wesleyan University, Fairfield University, and the University of New Haven. His additional research interests include experiential education, human language, and methods of teaching Arabic to non-Arabic speakers. 

Mr. Hamed is a member of the National Society for Experiential Education and is a specialist in designing, developing, and leading study abroad programs to the Middle East. He is also a journalist, editor, and translator. He holds a BA from Beirut American University and a Master of Education in Instructional Technology from American Intercontinental University. He has served as the academic director of SIT's Intensive Arabic Language Studies program in Jordan since 2008.

Abdalkareem Lasassmeh, Operations Manager

Mr. Abdalkareem Lasassmeh earned a bachelor’s in computer science from Mutah University in 2001 and an MS in computer information systems from Arab Academy in 2004. Mr. Lasassmeh has more than fourteen 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 joined Florida Atlantic University with al Balqa University.

Rania Kasab Harfoushi, Program Assistant / Student Affairs

Rania Harfoushi received her master’s degree in international business management from the University of Surrey in England in 2009 after completing her BA in business administration at the Applied Science University in Jordan. Throughout her career, she has accrued significant experience in human resources management while honing her language and cross-cultural intrapersonal skills to fit the needs of SIT’s diverse student population. Her past experience in sports management has also helped her in dealing with a wide variety of personalities. Rania is responsible for managing student affairs and helping students cope with the day-to-day challenges they face while studying abroad in Amman.

Rawan Francis Al-Samaan, Homestay Coordinator

Rawan first worked with SIT Jordan as custom programs assistant in 2013. During fall 2014, she began her current position as homestay coordinator. In this capacity, Rawan assists with a wide range of homestay arrangements and works with both students and host families on cross-cultural communication skills. Rawan Al-Samaan is a lifetime resident of Amman with experience in financial management, analysis, marketing, and strategic planning. She received her bachelor’s degree in finance from the Amman Al-Ahliyeh University in Salt, Jordan, in 2008.

Riham Al-Naimat, Language Instructor 

Riham obtained a master’s degree in Arabic language and literature from Al-Albayt University in 2007. She has been the language instructor at SIT for intermediate high and advanced levels since the summer of 2010. She previously worked as an Arabic instructor at the Jordanian Ministry of Education and as an Arabic instructor and language coordinator at international schools in Saudi Arabia.

Rima Al-Akramawi, Language Coordinator and Arabic Instructor

Rima holds a BA in English language and literature from Jordan University and is a certified translator and language proficiency interviews tester. Rima began teaching Arabic as a second language for SIT Jordan in 2009. She has been teaching Arabic as a second language since 2005. She has worked as a language coordinator with the Peace Corps and is currently working as an Arabic language instructor at the French Cultural Center of Amman and at the Qasid Institute for Classical and Modern Standard Arabic. 

Staff and students gather for lunch at a local restaurant.The Jordan: Intensive Arabic Language Studies program includes two different homestays, in Amman and in the rural area of Badia. These homestays will provide you with an excellent opportunity to experience two highly different lifestyles, perspectives, and values while practicing your enhanced language skills. All host families are carefully selected. 


You will spend the entire program period, other than the short time on excursions, living with a homestay family in West Amman. This homestay will give you 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. The homestay in Amman will allow you to better understand the life of a Jordanian family and will give you a unique opportunity to further enhance your speaking abilities.

Badia (Bedouin Homestay)

You will experience a two- to four-day rural homestay in the Badia area of Jordan, living with a Bedouin family who 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 travel on your own to visit your carefully selected Bedouin family. The excursion takes place during the fourth week in the program.

Program Dates: Summer 2017

Program Arrival Date:  Jun 5, 2017

Program Departure Date:    Jul 23, 2017

The dates listed above are subject to change. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.

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

Application Deadline:   Apr 1, 2017

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: $7,500

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers who instruct students in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), Jordanian Colloquial Arabic, and Jordanian culture
  • All educational excursions to location such as Badia (to visit a Bedouin community), Jerash, Ajloun, the Dead Sea, Wadi Mujib, Aqaba, Wadi Rum, Petra, the Dana Nature Reserve, and local media centers
  • All cultural activities assigned by the academic director
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board: $2,250

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, 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, 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

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: $ 300

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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