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Jordan: Intensive Arabic Language Studies (Summer)

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, students learn and improve their usage and understanding of Modern Standard Arabic and Jordanian Colloquial Arabic. Students are 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
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, students learn and improve their usage and understanding of Modern Standard Arabic and Jordanian Colloquial Arabic. Complementary educational excursions outside of Amman reveal to students Jordan's rich heritage, culture, and geography while providing exceptional opportunities to practice their enhanced language skills. 

Program Objectives

Arabic class in JordanStudents 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. Students discover the city's profusion of gleaming white houses, kebab stalls with roasting meat, and tiny cafes boasting rich Arabian coffee. Well known as a welcoming and relatively small city, students frequently explore the city's many hidden treasures by foot. 

While in Amman, students 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

Students may have the unique 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.

This intensive field-based Arabic language immersion program uses a content-based approach. Based in Amman, 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 as well. 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
(ARAB1000 / 9 credits / 135 class hours)
Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB2000 / 9 credits / 135 class hours)
Advanced Modern Standard Arabic and Media Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB3000 / 9 credits / 135 class 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 intensive 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.

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

Badia (Bedouin Community)

This excursion allows students the opportunity to explore Jordan’s Badia area where they 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."

Students travel on their own to visit their 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 six day excursion takes students to both North and South Jordan. Students receive customized Arabic lessons in a field-based setting; lessons focus on the sites and communities they visit and students enjoy highly interactive conversations about the places they experience. Students are engaged in Arabic practice from the time they leave Amman until their return; this includes language practice during periods of travel.

Students traveling to the desert.Highlights of this excursion include:


Students 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. Read more about Jerash.


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. Students 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 the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea is the world's richest source of natural salts.  

Wadi Mujib

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


Students experience the ancient city of Aqaba, an important port city and the ancient Red Sea Resort of 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, students experience the exceptional hospitality of the desert people and Bedouin tribes. They may share mint tea or cardamom coffee in the Bedouins’ tents, or join them by the fire under a starry desert sky.  


Students 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, students receive an intensive academic lecture about Petra. Following the lecture, students 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. Students experience the Reserve’s impressive mountains, the ancient ruins of Feinan, the cliffs of Wadi Dana, as well as Dana village. Students receive a customized lesson about the Reserve and engage in two debriefing sessions conducted in Arabic. As in Petra, students are 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 is currently conducting doctoral-level research in transformative education and language learning pedagogies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; 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.

Dema Matrouk Al Oun, Homestay Coordinator 

Dema has been working as homestay coordinator with SIT Study Abroad since 2008. She assists with a wide range of homestay arrangements and works with students and host families on cross-cultural communication skills. Dema received her BA in law from the University of Jordan, where she is currently studying for her MA in law. She is an active volunteer with the National Center for Human Rights, the Jordan Center for Civil Education Studies, the Jordan Society for Human Rights, and the University of Jordan's Community Service Office. 

Ahmad Al Rawajfeh, Assistant to the Academic Director

Ahmad obtained his MA in public administration from the University of Jordan in 2004. He works with SIT Study Abroad as a part-time logistical assistant, and also works part-time as a research assistant with the Royal Botanic Garden in Amman. He previously worked at Badia Research & Development Centre as head of public relations and community development outreach.

Jumana Mohamad Attieh Al-Mahamid, Language Instructor and Coordinator

Jumana obtained her BA in French language and literature from the University of Jordan in 2003. She started teaching Modern Standard and spoken Arabic as a foreign language at the University of Jordan in 2000. Jumana has worked for several international organizations as a language instructor, including the Jordan Cement Company, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the United States Naval Academy. She also has served as an interpreter at the French Cultural Center in Amman. Jumana has developed several manuals for teaching spoken Arabic that aim to integrate the Arabic language and culture. She is currently teaching spoken Arabic with SIT Study Abroad, at the French Cultural Center, the French embassy in Amman, and the Qasid Institute for Classical and Modern Standard Arabic. 

Khulood Kittaneh, Language Instructor 

Khulood started working with SIT in 2002, at the very beginning of this program in Jordan. She started as an Arabic language instructor and was the Arabic language coordinator for the program from 2006 through spring 2010. Khulood has an MA in international education from the SIT Graduate institute. She was a visiting instructor at Earlham College in Indiana in 2004-2005, and she started the college’s Arabic program. She was a part-time student as well, taking courses in peacebuilding and conflict resolution, language and culture, and trainings in teaching methodology. 

Khulood has written two books for teaching Jordanian colloquial Arabic. She is a teacher trainer and consultant in teaching Arabic for the Critical Language Scholarship program in Jordan, with the American Center of Oriental Research, and the Qasid Institute for Classical and Modern Standard Arabic. She is also developing a multimedia DVD for teaching the Jordanian dialect with the Amideast. During the academic year, Khulood is lecturing at New York University in Abu Dhabi, UAE. She will rejoin SIT in Jordan in the summer to teach Arabic.

Nour Al-Badawi, Language Instructor

Nour earned a BA in Arabic language and literature from the University of Jordan in 2006. Nour has been working with SIT as a language instructor since the summer of 2009. She has worked previously as a language instructor for the British Schools in Amman, as a part-time ESL tutor at the University of Jordan, and was a part-time member of the teaching staff in Arabic language and literature. She is currently working on her master's degree in teaching Arabic as a foreign language at the University of Jordan. 

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 Instructor

Rima holds a BA in English language and literature from Jordan University and is a certified translator and language proficiency interviews tester. She started working with SIT in Amman as a language instructor in the summer of 2010. Rima has eight years of experience teaching Arabic as a second language. 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. Homestays provide students with an excellent opportunity to experience two highly different lifestyles, perspectives, and values while practicing their enhanced language skills. All host families are carefully selected. 


Students spend the entire program period, other than the short time on excursions, living with a homestay family in West Amman. The homestay gives students 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. Students are integrated into their host family's daily life, partaking in everyday activities such as sharing breakfast, participating in family outings, and shopping. In some cases, students have the opportunity to experience a Jordanian wedding ceremony or other traditional cultural activities organized by the host family. The homestay in Amman allows students to better understand the life of a Jordanian family and gives them a unique opportunity to further enhance their speaking abilities.

Badia (Bedouin Homestay)

Students 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 allows students 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. Students travel on their own to visit their carefully selected Bedouin family. The excursion takes place during the fourth week in the program.

Program Dates: Summer 2016

Program Start Date:  Jun 6, 2016

Program End Date:    Jul 24, 2016

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, 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: $7,250

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 visits to local media
  • All cultural activities assigned by the academic director
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board: $2,200

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 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.

Visa Expenses: Not yet available.

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: Not yet available.

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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