Dreaming of Amman, Jordan

Nadia Marrakchi is a student at Colorado State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Nadia will be studying abroad with ISA in Amman, Jordan.

A little over a month before leaving behind everything I know and love in Colorado, I had my first dream about what my life in Jordan may come to be. I found myself in downtown Amman, alone, confused, and surrounded by all things foreign. My dream didn’t last long as I was awoken by an unknown force, compelling me to sit up in my bed and question what the heck I was getting myself into. I always assumed this was an unattainable goal, where pigs would surely be able to fly before it came to fruition. Yet, reality has begun to knock at my door to ensure me that this is in fact the real deal.

Dreaming about my future during a hike in my beautiful home state.

I officially began preparing myself for this particular moment over a year ago, when the possibility of studying abroad for a semester evolved into something more than just an idea. I invested endless hours into exploring the various programs and locations that would allow my Arabic skills to flourish to a level unattainable here in the states. I can feel the butterflies in my stomach multiply each day as I come to terms with what I am leaving behind. I am choosing to part from the comfort of my own home, leaving my support system of family and friends, and moving from a country where I am able to communicate with ease. However, I am also electing to depart from what is comfortable in order to experience a rich new culture and absorb a complex language that will benefit me in countless ways, even after my experience abroad has ended. I believe that my dream was a way to expose the genuine emotions that I have tried, up until this point, to subdue.

Looking back, I don’t know where the past year has gone as I realize I have a mere three weeks to gather my belongings that will need to suffice me for the next six months I spend abroad. I have bombarded my friends that have recently studied abroad with questions about what is crucial to pack and what I can live without while away. I highly suggest speaking with study abroad alumni because they remind you of the ‘comforts of home’ that you can live without. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I can’t take my twelve jackets or sixteen pairs of shoes with me and I’ll have to wear the same outfit on a number of occasions. But I mean, who will notice the dirty black tee shirt I have on in every picture when I am at Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, right?

In these remaining weeks until my departure, I imagine myself frantically trying to memorize as many Arabic vocabulary words as humanly possible and struggling to make an unrealistic amount of items fit into the one permitted suitcase. I hope to remain honest with myself throughout this experience and realize that it is inevitable that I will hit a few bumps in the road.  I know that I will miss my home, my friends and family, and most definitely my cats. Nevertheless, I also know that through this experience I will gain so much more as I discover new personal strengths and learn to adapt to a new lifestyle. The next time I check in with you all, I will be blogging directly from Jordan, which I anticipate being done while sipping Arabic chai (tea) in a local café and absorbing the unfamiliar faces and sounds that surround me.

2 thoughts

  1. You are going to have a blast! I didn’t do study abroad but am now living/working abroad and I went through the same thoughts last summer when I was getting ready. Living in a foreign country is the experience of a lifetime, you’ll make lifelong friends and grow in a way you could never imagine.

    Petra is going to be everything you hoped and more! I loved it there and wish I could go back. Until I get there I’ll have to be content scrolling rereading my trip through my narrative and pictures!

  2. Very excited but apprehensive about this new adventure of yours. I will be one of those grandma’s that will check EVERY day to see if you have an update on this blog. I know you will continue to excel in whatever you choose to accomplish. I also know you are wise beyond a 21 year old and will know that being safe is the number one thing you will keep in mind at all times. I am certain you will come away with new forever friends along with the education opportunity you have been thinking about for so long. Know that we love you and will think of you daily. Grandma & Grandpa

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