International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987


Culture Corner

Monuments and Must-Sees

Jabal al-Qal'a
Also known as the Amman Citadel, this ancient ruin has seen the rise and fall of most of the civilizations that have inhabited Amman for the past 7,000 years. The first national Archaeological Museum is located here, giving visitors some insight into the Citadel's long history.

Roman Theatre
Located in the heart of downtown Amman, and visible from the Amman Citadel, this ancient structure is a monument to the reach and influence of the Roman empire 2,000 years ago.

Amman Citadel
From this breath-taking high point over looking the city, you can explore the Temple of Hercules built in 161 AD as well as experience remnants of the Nabatean, Roman and Byzatine periods all colliding in the same place.

King Hussein Mosque
Not only is the beautiful architecture of the mosque worth seeing, but the area around the mosque is a cultural hub of Amman. There are shops and markets galore in this central part of the city, allowing visitors to not only enjoy the architecture and culture, but also do some shopping!

Cultural Activities

Amman has endless activities for international visitors to enjoy. Listed below are some different cultural activities to do while in Amman. You can do many of these activities on your own, with friends, or they may be sponsored by ISA. Upon arrival to Amman, different sponsored cultural activities will be announced throughout your program abroad.

Souq Jara
This souq (Arabic for bazaar) is a great attraction for Ammanis and foreigners alike. Here you can buy many handmade cultural artifacts crafted by local artisans in the bazaar. At the same bazaar, bands from Amman and the rest of the region feature live music shows.

Film Festivals
Several different organizations in Amman organize film festivals all year long and focus on varying issues, such as human rights and social justice. These festivals are a great way for students to explore the booming cinematic tradition of the Middle East!

Book Fairs

Several book fairs take place annually in Amman, allowing students to experience Arab literary culture.

Among the many museums in Amman is the National Archaeological Museum, which houses artifacts dating back to the Paleolithic era. In addition to fragments of the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls, the museum's impressive collection includes artifacts from the Persian, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic periods in Jordan's history. For more information on the numerous other museums in Amman, click here.

Art Exhibits
The historic area in Amman has a number of galleries featuring works of local and international artists.

Go to for a calendar of upcoming events in Amman and the rest of Jordan.

Cultural Immersion

Volunteering Opportunities
While there is no structured volunteer program offered, any student truly interested in volunteering while in Amman can work with the ISA Amman staff to find different opportunities. Students simply present different organizations or areas that interest them and the Amman staff can help you figure out how to get involved.

ISA Student Blog
Stay connected while you're abroad and share your experience with your peers back home! Each summer and semester the ISA Student Blog features ISA students as bloggers and video correspondents who document their time abroad to share with their friends, family, prospective students and more. If sharing your study abroad experience through blog posts, videos, photos and other media while receiving professional guidance and feedback appeals to you, consider applying to be an ISA Featured Blogger or an ISA Video Correspondent! The Site Specialist for your program will email all accepted students to notify you when ISA is accepting applications for bloggers and video correspondents.

Cultural Blogs
We also suggest you check out the plethora of other cultural blogs available on the web to learn more about others' experiences in Amman, cultural happenings, and expat lives.

Language Resources

Diglossia exists in Arabic-speaking societies; in other words, there are always at least two dialects of Arabic in any Arab society. The first dialect is Modern Standard Arabic, the dialect of academia, media, law, and other official or formal functions, and linguistically binds the Arab World. The second is Colloquial Arabic (aka Derija or 'Amiyya), the spoken language which varies from country to country and sometimes even within countries.

Helpful Phrases

aywa - yes
la - no
mumkin - perhaps
marhaba - hello (informal)
marhaba or ahlayn (response)
es salaam alaykum - hello (formal)
walaykum assalaam (response)
m'a salama - goodbye
keefak (addressing a male) or keefik (addressing a female) - how are you?
min fadlak (to a male) or min fadlik (to a female) - please
shukran - thank you
afwan - pardon (you're welcome)
sabah al-khir - good morning
masaa al-khir - good evening
ismi - my name is
shoo ismak (to a male) or shoo ismik (to a female) - what's your name?

On-line Dictionary Resource

Verb Conjugation
We suggest you look up some helpful websites dedicated to verb conjugations in Arabic

Listening & Speaking
Check out some different Arabic podcasts available to practice your speaking and listening skills. Jordanian Arabic language lesson podcasts from the Peace Corps are available on iTunes. Another online audio resource is Aswaat Arabiyya.

Beware of translation websites...much can be lost in translation!