This past week at CSS was my last week at the internship. The week before was Eid al-Adha so we enjoyed the entire week off. I was invited to an Eid lunch and was very glad I got to take part in that. Each night during Eid I went downtown or to popular areas and was able to see how Jordanians celebrated the Eid. People would pray in the late morning/early afternoon and then go home and get prepared for whatever event, party, or dinner they were going to that evening. After their evening festivities, many Jordanians took to the streets to go to cafes, restaurants, and even bars. It was something I enjoyed witnessing.
Looking back at the internship, I am very happy with my time at CSS. I learned a lot about myself, research, and Jordanian society. My research I completed this summer has definitely made me a better researcher, academic, and student. I feel much more confident in my ability to conduct research and to write papers. I made contacts and friends for life. I look forward to the academic semester next week here in Jordan to improve my Arabic and knowledge of Jordanian and Arab culture!
This past week marked the 8th and penultimate week of my internship at the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan. I had quite a busy week. Not only did I have deadlines to meet at my internship, I was also busy being a personal tour guide in Amman! My professor’s nephew from Turkey was visiting Jordan and she was unable to take him around and show him all the wonderful sites Amman has to offer, so I agreed to take him around Amman. Many of the attractions and sites I took him to I had already seen, but it was very interesting seeing them from a new perspective- a student/researcher living in Amman and very familiar with the city and its history. I was able to appreciate these sites and the history of city in a way I had not before.
At the internship, a few of the fall interns arrived to help replace the summer interns that had departed. This coming week I have off all week because of Eid al-Adha on Tuesday. Eid (as it is commonly known) is the biggest celebration in Islam. The city is bustling even moreso than usual with people scrambling to buy their Eid outfits and accessories. I have been invited to an Eid lunch by a colleague and am looking forward to attending this special celebration. After this week, I will be at the center for my last week and tying up loose ends and finishing up research before my semester starts in two weeks!
(all interns gave consent to this photo being posted on my blog!)
As my internship, and the summer, winds down many of the foreigners (ijanib) that I have met this summer have left, as well as Jordanian students who study outside Jordan. This has led me to spend my weekends with the rest of my friends how many Jordanian youth spend their time. Just hanging out at cafes playing cards or chilling on the street not really doing anything, instead of going to clubs, bars, or events. It is much more boring but also feels more authentic and more characteristic of the youth here. I have got to talking with my Jordanian friends and acquaintances about things such as life and the future. Many youth in Jordan, like in the United States, do not have a lot of hopes for the future. Youth unemployment is extremely high and Amman is the most expensive city in the Arab world, with respect to the level of salaries. Austerity measures forced on the country by the IMF and World Bank have only made the situation worse in the past years. Many youth that can leave are leaving, and those that cannot leave want to leave. Many of them want to go to the United States, Turkey, or the Gulf. One of the few things Jordanians have to be optimistic about is the relative security and stability the country enjoys compared to the rest of the region.
This relates to my research of the situation in the Arab world post-Arab ‘Spring’. The Arab Spring was first and foremost a reaction against these austerity measures forced upon the region by the international organizations and the United States, who support(ed) many of these repressive regimes in the region. The ironic thing is that many youth want to go to the United States, which bears responsibility for the economic and political situation in the region. However, many youth in the United States also have immense fears and anxiety about their own futures, only exacerbated under the current administration. Change in the region will be brought by the youth fighting against these powerful institutions backed by the United States, and not by the US itself, as is so often claimed.
July is now over and I only have a few weeks left of my internship. More interns finished up their times at the Center and returned to the United States, as well as some students I met from outside the program. So now there are only a few interns left for the rest of August, and I will have to find other things to do to keep busy before my academic program starts in September. They are right when they say August is the Sunday of summer.
I am still enjoying my research at the Center and just finished up a project for my mentor, Dr. Lamis elMuhtaseb. I am looking forward to what she will have me working on next. Recently, I have found more time to review my Arabic vocab and grammar, and have been putting that into practice when I am out and about. I want to be ready for when the semester starts next month. Overall, although things have slowed down, I am still enjoying my internship and time here in Amman this summer!