Placement: Refugee Camp Community Center
When and where was your ISA Service-Learning 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 ISA Service-Learning?
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. ISA Service-Learning 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. ISA Service-Learning 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.