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Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action

Witness the massive humanitarian response to the regional refugee crisis, with a focus on refugee health. Understand the impact of refugees in Europe during an excursion to Switzerland.

At a Glance





Language of Study


Courses taught in



Sep 6 – Dec 19

Program Countries


Program Excursion Countries


Program Base


Critical Global Issue of Study

Global Health & Well-being


Why study abroad in Jordan?

Get a firsthand look at humanitarian action in Jordan and Switzerland. Jordan provides a unique opportunity to explore humanitarian response in various sectors including health, protection, food and Water and sanitation. In Amman, you’ll learn about protection status and policies and health and psychosocial interventions to improve the well-being of displaced populations. In Geneva, a hub for UN agencies and international aid organizations, you will explore the international humanitarian architecture and global coordination mechanism, as well as contrasting integration and identity challenges of asylum seekers in Jordan and Switzerland.


  • Visit Syrian refugee camps, host communities, healthcare facilities and NGOs to learn about humanitarian interventions.
  • Visit NGOs and local CBOs to learn about risks to protection and well-being, and observe psychosocial and protection interventions to enhance the resilience of refugees displaced by regional conflict.
  • Travel to Geneva to learn from health and humanitarian policy experts.
  • Contrast protection, integration and protection policies in Jordan and Switzerland.



program map


Rural Jordan

You will visit health centers and community-based organizations providing health and protection services to refugees in local host communities. During these excursions, you will also learn about well-being and protection challenges, as well as community-based interventions to provide protection and enhance resilience and social cohesion.


At this UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll take in the splendors of the ancient city of Petra, a world-famous archeological wonder featured in Indiana Jones “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Wadi Rum

Heading further south, you’ll behold the vast desert of Wadi Rum (Valley of the Moon), the shooting location for much of “Lawrence of Arabia” and many other films. You’ll enjoy an afternoon of desert trekking around the vast and awe-inspiring sandstone mountains.

Northern Heights

More than 80 percent of Syrian refugees are located in northern Jordan. During this excursion, you will be able to assess the impact of refugees on host communities and visit key sites:

Um Qais

Atop a windswept mountain with views of the Golan Heights and Sea of Galilee, you’ll visit the ruins of ancient Jadara.


You’ll walk among the extraordinary ruins of the best preserved Roman city outside of Italy.


Spend the night at a cozy lodge in the forest of Ajloun surrounded by oak, pine, pistachios, and wild strawberries after visiting Qalaat Errabadh, the medieval castle built by Muslims to protect the area from invading Crusaders.


You’ll spend most of your stay in the capital, Geneva. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with experts about the international refugee system and learn about the challenges facing health relief agencies providing refugee protection and assistance. You’ll visit the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Explore Old Geneva with its quaint chateaus and fine arts museums. Enjoy a cruise along the shores of Lake Geneva and experience the city’s rich history, architecture, and cuisine. You’ll have time to explore nearby Lausanne, one of Switzerland’s prettiest cities, with medieval shop-lined streets and an ornate 12th century Gothic cathedral.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.


Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Critique the humanitarian system including humanitarian principles, standards, and architecture from an ethical and logistical lens.
  • Evaluate the integration and identity challenges of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Switzerland.
  • Evaluate the healthcare response available to refugees in Jordan in relation to broadly accepted professional standards.
  • Examine ethical, gender-sensitive, resilience-building, and community-based humanitarian interventions.
  • Articulate protection and well-being challenges facing refugees and displaced communities.
  • Apply field methods for needs assessment and evidence-based protection and psychosocial interventions.
  • Synthesize the learning acquired on the program in an Independent Study Project or internship experience paper.

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.


Access virtual library guide.

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.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Protection policies and challenges of refugees and displaced populations in the Middle East and North Africa.
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  • Principled and evidence-based humanitarian response and interventions in health, nutrition, education and protection sectors.
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  • The role of UN and international relief agencies in refugee assistance and humanitarian action
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  • Principles and legal frameworks governing humanitarian action.

Refugees and Displaced Populations in the Context of Jordan

Refugees and Displaced Populations in the Context of Jordan – syllabus
(MDES3000 / 3 credits)

This seminar introduces students to the principles, guidelines, and laws related to refugee 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. Policies and interventions to prevent and respond to gender-related and child risks will be explored in depth.

Refugee Health and Humanitarian Action

Refugee Health and Humanitarian Action – syllabus
(MDES3500 / 3 credits)

This seminar examines firsthand the humanitarian action taking place in Jordan and the region to provide assistance to Syrian refugees, with special emphasis on the health and wellbeing sector. The seminar addresses the principles, rights, and standards governing humanitarian action and looks into the challenges of providing assistance to refugees. The health status, risk factors of refugees and health services available to refugees including mental health, communicable and noncommunicable diseases 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)

Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB2003-2503 / 3 credits)

Advanced Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB3003-3503 / 3 credits)


Beginning Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB1006-1506 / 6 credits)

Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB2006-2506 / 6 credits)

Advanced Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB3006-3506 / 6 credits)

The language course is offered at different levels: Choose to take either two thematic seminar and a 3-credit Arabic language course OR the thematic seminar course, Refugees and Displaced Populations in the Context of Jordan, and a six-credit Arabic language course. 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.

Research Methods and Ethics

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits)

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. The overall aim is to help students hone their experience-based learning processes and prepare them for the development of an Independent Study Project (ISP), or an Internship Paper, which is largely based on the data gathered from primary sources, or an internship at a local organization.

Independent Study Project or Internship

Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits)
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.

Sample ISP topic areas:

  • The effect of refugees on the health system in Jordan
  • Impact of water shortage on the health of refugees
  • Refugees’ resilience and integration
  • The impact of drama on the well-being of refugees.

Browse this program’s Independent Study Projects / undergraduate research.


Internship and Seminar
Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN 3000 / 4 credits)
This seminar consists of a four-week internship with a research organization, business, UN agency, intergovernmental organization, international development agency and national and local NGOs providing humanitarian assistance and development aid to refugee and local communities. The aim of an internship is to enable students to gain valuable internship experience and enhance their skills in an international internship environment.

Sample internships include:

  • Assisting in GBV and child protection projects with the Institute for Family Health.
  • Providing relief to Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians with the Institute for Family Health
  • Working with farmers, women, and refugees living in poverty with Princess Taghrid Institute
  • Assisting epidemiologists with the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network
  • Promoting mental health awareness and services in Zaatari camp with the Jordan Health Aid Society
  • Supporting the efforts of Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development-Legal Aid to raise legal awareness among vulnerable populations, fight injustice, and promote equality



You will  live with a homestay family in Amman for 12 weeks. The homestay is a unique opportunity to become a member of a local family, share meals with them and take part in special occasions. Jordan is known for its warm hospitality. You will learn about traditions, local perspectives on issues, and Arab culture while experiencing the country through your homestay family’s eyes.

Most homestay families are middle class and maintain the customs of a typical Arab home. Homestay families commonly include first- or second-generation Palestinians who are major contributors to Jordan’s social and cultural life. The homestay experience gives you an opportunity to further enhance your spoken Arabic.

Excursion & Orientation Accommodations

Other accommodations during the program include hostels, research institutes, or small hotels.

Faculty & Staff

Jordan: Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action

Bayan Abdulhaq, PhD bio link
Bayan Abdulhaq, PhD
Academic Director
Farah Hasasneh bio link
Farah Hasasneh
Language Coordinator and Instructor
Razan Amirah bio link
Razan Amirah
Program Assistant

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

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  • Welcome to SIT Jordan!

    Live with a Jordanian family, master Arabic, and explore awe-inspiring Petra on SIT Study Abroad’s undergraduate programs in Jordan.

  • SIT stands #WithRefugees

    SIT Study Abroad joins UNHCR’s call to support the displaced.

    Learn More