Housing

It is our policy that students must live in an Arabic-speaking environment; you may not live alone nor solely with other English speakers. Students will typically live with a host family.  During the second semester of a full year in Jordan, at the discretion of the Director, students may move into private apartments. In making housing placement decisions, we prioritize cultural immersion and student safety.

Students will complete a housing form on the online application (after admittance to the program) to convey housing preferences to the on-site staff, who will make housing placements.  It is extremely important that students give detailed answers to the questions on this housing forms because the on-site staff place students with host families based on these answers.  While every effort will be made to accommodate your housing requests, it is not always possible to grant everyone’s first choice.  We encourage you to keep an open mind in terms of your housing, as with all other aspects of the experience.

Homestays

There is no doubt that living in a Jordanian home can be a rewarding experience for a study abroad student who is willing to adapt to a different lifestyle within the context of someone else’s home. The use of colloquial Arabic in the home, and contact with Jordanians in their daily routine, are among the advantages of this experience. Nevertheless, you must be aware that your integration into a Jordanian home will be gradual and that many things taken for granted in your own home are often viewed from a different perspective in a Jordanian household. If you wish to feel like part of the household and have more active participation in the Jordanian way of life, you should seriously consider having dinner with them on a regular basis. Dinner then becomes the time to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and to better familiarize yourself with Jordanian ways of life and to improve colloquial Arabic language skills.

Living with Jordanian hosts is an amazing opportunity both linguistically and culturally but you should be aware that:

  • Privacy will be relatively limited; people in Jordan do not have the same concept of privacy as we do, and “alone-time” may say to the family that you are sad, homesick, antisocial, or that something else is wrong.
  • The program’s host families, however, are sometimes familiar with the privacy notions Americans have and you might want to reach out to them for interaction. Usually, things will be easy once you have gotten used to each other’s preferences.
  • Homestay families may live anywhere from 20-60 minutes from campus,.
  • It is very common for people to smoke in their homes in Jordan; your hosts will likely limit this if it bothers you, but you are very likely to come across indoor smoking inside and outside the home environment.
  • While a homestay may involve cultural exchange, it is also a business arrangement in which each party has particular rules by which to abide.
  • Students, especially women, will likely be expected to be in the house for the night (perhaps as early as 9 or 10pm)
  • Kitchen privileges may or may not be granted;
  • Homestay families may live anywhere from 20-60 minutes from campus.
  • It is very common for people to smoke in their homes in Jordan; your hosts will likely limit this if it bothers you, but you are very likely to come across indoor smoking inside and outside the home environment.
  • Jordanian meal schedules are different from what you might expect, so it is important to communicate clearly with your hosts about when they eat lunch/dinner and when you would like to eat lunch/dinner.

Apartments

During their second semester in Amman, students may choose to find and rent flats on your own in the city.  The Language Pledge remains in effect for students who rent flats.

It is very important to always keep the School in the Middle East staff informed about your current housing situation and cell phone number so that they can contact you in case of emergency. No housing changes may be made without consultation with, and approval of, the Director.

SigningAll housing arrangements will be organized by the Resident Coordinators. Students who have contacts in Jordan and wish to arrange their own housing must adhere to the policy above. The Director has the final word on approving students’ housing to ensure their safety and maximum cultural immersion.

However, if academic year students choose to live in an apartment, the process of finding and narrowing down your options is your responsibility. Take your time in looking at various options and several different places before deciding where to live.  It is the student’s responsibility to READ ALL CONTRACTS CAREFULLY AND UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY SAY.  Students should not hesitate to ask for assistance if the wording in a contract is unclear, but are ultimately responsible for all obligations, financial and otherwise, to the renting party/landlord.