“The Jordan experience was amazing. I'd always had an academic interest in the Middle East, but surrounded by the food, the scents, the beautiful language, the rainbow of tapestries and paintings, and the ancient stone city of Petra, I fell in love with the region. The natural beauty of the Middle East and Jordan, combined with the amazing staff of teachers and advisors that really becomes a second family, makes this program a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Daniel Wang, 2012
June 23 – July 20, 2013
- Study at Columbia University in New York and King's Academy in Jordan
- Expand your understanding of the people and culture of the Middle East
- Visit religious, cultural, and natural landmarks in Jordan
- Earn an official Columbia University Statement of Attendance
Culture and History: Understanding the Arab World is a pre-college summer program for students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college, organized in collaboration with King's Academy in Jordan and facilitated by the Columbia University Middle East Research Center in Amman.
This program offers a unique opportunity for students to combine substantive reading and coursework with firsthand experience in an Arab country. Students study at both Columbia University in New York City and King's Academy in Manja, Jordan, and travel extensively throughout Jordan with a variety of local guides and organizations. Students emerge from this program with a working knowledge of the history and cultures of the modern Arab world, rudimentary conversational Arabic, and unforgettable experiences of life in Jordan.
The four-week program begins at Columbia University, where students dive into a historical overview of the Arab world while discovering New York City. Students then travel together to Jordan, where they spend a week and a half based at the prestigious King’s Academy, continuing their coursework, which is interspersed with daytrips around the region (Amman, Madaba, the Dead Sea, Columbia's Middle East Research Center, art museums, and a refugee camp).
The time in Jordan concludes with a week of travel so that students are able to apply and experience what they have learned in the classroom in a number of authentic and personal contexts. First, we head north to Jordan's groundbreaking EcoPark, a nature reserve founded by the Jordanian-Palestinian-Israeli cooperative Friends of the Earth Middle East. Students discover the region's budding environmental movement through activities at EcoPark and in the surrounding villages of the Jordan River Valley. We then head back south, stopping overnight at the breathtaking Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve before continuing further south for a two-day camping trip, during which students explore Petra and Wadi Rum with Bedouin guides then wash it off at a Turkish bathhouse.
The program concludes back at Columbia University in New York, where students channel their coursework, cultural experiences, ethnographic research, and Columbia’s excellent library resources into individual articles and a group magazine project, which they present on the last day of the program.