Placement: Refugee Camp Community Center
When and where was your ELAP program?
I worked in a refugee camp in Amman Jordan during the summer of 2013, just prior to taking a course in Arabic with ISA.
What made you decide to participate in ELAP?
Two things: first, I really wanted to do some work with refugees in the Middle East and second, I was planning on learning Arabic with ISA in Amman that summer, and this program seemed like the best way to do both. Likewise, I felt that working in a refugee camp would be a good way to practice my Arabic, get comfortable with the city, get to know some locals, and get some exploration done before classes started. ELAP did a lot of work to make this happen, and they did a very good job working with my schedule and matching me to a program that fit what I was looking to do. For my career I want to have a large amount of abroad experience as well as time spent volunteering and as many languages as possible. ELAP helped me accomplish all three of those goals.
What activities did you most enjoy during your placement?
Teaching English to a room full of kids who had little access to education was one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done. In Jordan, English is a language associated with a good education. A familiarity with the language can bring all sorts of opportunities in terms of employment or status. By teaching these children English, I really felt like I had the chance to help them, even if it was only in a small way. Coming home each day from hours of work in a challenging environment left me exhausted, but content. I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything in the world. Having the opportunity to get to know a family, learning about their culture and traditions was, at the risk of sounding cliché, an enlightening experience. Sincerely, I met some of the most hospitable people I have ever encountered there, and I still keep in touch with them to this day.