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SIT Jordan Geopolitics, International Relations, and the Future of the Middle East

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring

Location:

Amman, Jordan

Credit:

Transfer

Program Features

Affiliated Program
Research
Internship

Eligibility:

- 2.5 GPA

- Good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Spring: 9/27

Fall: 3/4

market with vegetables and man shopping

SIT Study Abroad offers more than 60 accredited semester and summer study abroad programs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. SIT also offers the International Honors Program, which is multi-locational.

The SIT Experience

  • Rigorous academic programs through a field-based, experiential approach
  • Undergraduate research through an Independent Study Project
  • Cultural immersion through fieldwork, language classes, and urban and rural homestays with local families
  • A small group of students in each program, supported by SIT faculty and staff, homestay families, in-country experts, and community members
  • Access to SIT's extensive local resources and networks
  • A commitment to reciprocity as the foundation of our educational philosophy

Geopolitics, International Relations, and the Future of the Middle East

Learn about the Middle East’s politics, shifting power configurations, and efforts to promote peace and global security from Jordan, a peace broker in the region.

Study the Middle East’s complex history from Jordan’s capital, Amman. Over the last two decades, the Middle East experienced major events—from the 1994 Oslo Peace Treaty to the Arab Spring revolutions to the civil wars in Syria, Libya, and Yemen—that continue to reshape the geopolitical map of the region. As a peace broker in the region, Jordan provides an excellent site from which to study territorial conflict and state sovereignty, international intervention, and geography’s effects on politics and international relations. You’ll learn about the dominant international relations paradigms in the Middle East and discuss reconciliation models with political scientists, diplomats, and policy makers. You’ll also consider the rise of ISIS and the role of Russia and the U.S. in peacemaking in the Middle East.

Major topics of study include:

  • How geography shapes politics, shifts power, and impacts international relations in the Middle East
  • The impact of political crises on social organization, the economy, and human ecology in the Middle East
  • Territorial conflict and state sovereignty, international intervention, and international relations
  • The underpinnings of the Arab Spring on politics and society in Jordan and neighboring countries
  • Internal, regional, and international arenas examined through an experiential learning model
  • The impact of Palestinian, Iraqi, and Syrian immigrants and refugees, now two thirds of Jordan’s population
  • Theory and practice of peace psychology and contributions of psychological analyses of foreign policy, international conflict, and conflict resolution to the understanding of international relations
  • The role of Jordan as a peace broker in the region and the effects of diplomacy and international relations in conflict resolution

For more information, see SIT's webpage.

SIT Academic Program

Amman at night, city view

Interdisciplinary Seminars

Thematic seminars merge student experience with academic theory to examine critical issues from multiple perspectives. Students learn from SIT faculty as well as guest lecturers from local universities, research institutes, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and community and professional associations. Field-based activities and assignments complement readings, discussions, and research papers, allowing students to engage in a variety of study methods.

Intensive Language Study

Programs typically offer language study at the intermediate and advanced levels and/or beginning instruction in a less commonly taught language spoken by the local community. Language courses incorporate formal classroom instruction, discussion, and field exercises designed to enhance student engagement while improving oral and written competence. Select programs are taught entirely or partly in the target language.

Research Methods and Ethics

Students learn appropriate methodologies that prepare them to undertake fieldwork on topics connected to the program’s theme and specific cultural context. Students develop research skills and approaches including cross-cultural adaptation and skill building; project selection and refinement; contact and resource cultivation; observation and interviewing skills; gathering, organizing, and presenting findings; and maintaining a field journal. Students also examine the ethics and impact of their research on local communities and are required to follow the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy, which serves as an approval process and guide for ethical field study practices.

Independent Study Project (ISP)

Typically conducted during the last month of the semester, the ISP allows students to pursue original field-based research on a topic of their choice within the program’s thematic parameters. The academic director advises each student on developing a project plan. Students also identify an ISP advisor who works with the student on the design, implementation, and evaluation of the student’s research project. Final projects generally include a 20- to 40-page paper and presentation to peers, academic staff, and interested members of the host community.

University of Iowa students who complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) must follow University of Iowa Institutional Review Board (IRB) policies and procedures. For more information on the Iowa IRB process please visit the Undergraduate Research Abroad webpage. An additional pre-departure orientation session, hosted by the Iowa IRB, will be offered on campus to help answer questions and ensure compliance.

Program Dates

For program dates, please consult SIT's webpage.

For More Information

Toni Bartolutti
Study Abroad Advisor & Program Coordinator

Phone: 319-335-0353
Email: toni-bartolutti@uiowa.edu

The University of Iowa
International Programs, Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242-1802

Amman, Jordan

mosque in Amman

In the heart of the Middle East, you will be able to examine Jordanian government and society as you negotiate the underpinnings of the Arab Spring and ensuing political change in neighboring countries.

Safety

Ruins

SIT places the highest priority on the health, safety, and security of all students. Through their 80-plus years of running international experiential education programs, they have developed sophisticated proactive and reactive risk management strategies. Their proactive risk management begins with in-country assessments of safety and continues through student orientation and emergency preparedness. Their reactive risk management strategies include 24/7 on-call availability, emergency/crisis response protocols, and comprehensive student insurance. Their structure also allows for rapid response and adjustment to changing situations.

Jordan Travel Information

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

Roman theatre in Amman

You will spend the entire program period, other than the time on excursions, living with a homestay family in West Amman. The homestay provides you with an outstanding window into Jordanian urban life and culture. Most homestay families are middle class and maintain the customs of the typical Arab home.

Homestay families may include first or second generations of Palestinian refugees in Jordan, now a major component of Jordanian social and cultural life. You will be integrated into your host family’s daily life, partaking in everyday activities such as sharing breakfast, participating in family outings, and shopping. In some cases, you will have the opportunity to experience a Jordanian wedding ceremony or other traditional cultural activities organized by the host family or relatives.

Other accommodations during the program include hostels, research institutes, or small hotels.

Educational Excursions

Street and market in Amman

United Arab Emirates

The UAE has emerged as a leading economic, political, and cultural power in the region, and many countries in the Middle East look to the UAE paradigm as an important model. On this excursion, you’ll visit four out of seven emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Shariqah, and Ajman). Here, you’ll learn about the history of the Emirates, the expat work force, and geo-economics and international business in the Gulf.

You’ll meet with peers from New York University in Abu Dhabi, the American University in Dubai, Dubai Heritage Village, Mamsha Al Jumaira, Dubai Boulevard (Khalifah Tower, the Fountain, and Dubai Mall), Emirates Palace, Shiekh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi Corniche, H. H. Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi of Ajman Emirate, Arab Peninsula Animals Center, Sharjah Islamic Arts Museum, Al Qasba Canal, and many other sites.

You will write a comparative essay in which you will analyze aspects of what you learn in UAE and Jordan and document how the excursion contributed to your understanding of the geopolitics of the Middle East.

Central and Southern Jordan

This excursion will take you to both Central and Southern Jordan. You will receive customized Arabic lessons in a field-based setting; lessons focus on the sites and communities you visit, and you will enjoy highly interactive conversations about the places you experience. You will be engaged in Arabic practice from the time you leave Amman until your return; this includes language practice during periods of travel.

Travel Arrangements

Participants will make their own travel arrangements to Jordan, taking advantage of any frequent-flyer options and/or internet specials available to them. The cost of travel is not included in the program fee. Information about airport pick up will be given at orientation. Students should book airfare to correspond with the arrival and departure dates provided by SIT.

Eligibility

Students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, and be in good academic and disciplinary standing. You must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university at the end of the semester, too. If you are not in good standing at the end of the semester, your acceptance will be revoked and you will be responsible for the associated withdrawal fees.

Costs

This is a new program. The UI cost sheet is forthcoming. General cost information is available on the SIT webpage.

This document outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheet includes the Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please see the respective websites for further details. If the fee is inclusive of UI tuition, it is calculated by Current Tuition. Please contact your study abroad advisor with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.

Upfront, out-of-pocket expenses

Some costs are incurred prior to departure and will be due before financial aid/scholarship disperse. Here are the expected upfront costs for SIT:

  • Iowa application fee: $50
  • Airfare: $1,000-$1,500
  • Passport: $135

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities and Non-UI External Awards.

SIT automatically gives students from Big Ten institutions a $1,500 scholarship. There is no application necessary — the amount is automatically credited to your account. SIT offers additional awards that can be found on SIT's webpage.

Pell Grant Recipients will have their application fee waived by SIT, are eligible for additional SIT scholarships, and are competitive candidates for the Department of State's Gilman Scholarship. Please talk to your Study Abroad Advisor for more details.

Withdrawal policy

SIT's withdrawal policy can be found here: Withdrawal and Cancellation. After applying and being accepted students will then be asked to confirm their participation in the program. After confirmation, students are responsible for the following:

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
Within the first nine days after the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: $400
Portion of program fee: Determined by SIT
10-19 days past the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: $400
Portion of program fee: Determined by SIT
20-44 days past the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: $400
Portion of program fee: Determined by SIT
45 or more days past the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: 100%
Portion of program fee: Determined by SIT

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Check with your specific provider/host university for details. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

Application Deadline

Spring: September 27

Fall: March 4

How to Apply

You can find the application for this program on our website here: UI Study Abroad Application. Applicants must meet with a Study Abroad advisor before their application will be processed. You can schedule a meeting by calling 319.335.0353.

Participants must also complete the SIT application and complete all the application components by SIT's deadline. The SIT application can be found here: SIT Application.

Pre-departure Resources

SIT and the UI have a variety of resources available to you to prepare for departure. It is recommended that you review these materials, share them with your parents, and refer back to them if you have questions.

  1. SIT Pre-departure Guide
  2. A Parent Guide to Study AbroadPDF
  3. Health Preparation Guide for International TravelPDF
  4. List of books, documentaries, films, videos, and online materials related to the Middle EastPDF
  5. Iowa's SIT Pre-departure Orientation

Program Payment

You will be billed for the program on your U-Bill through the University of Iowa's billing office. Billing occurs the semester you're abroad and is due with the first U-Bill of the term. This allows for financial aid and scholarships to disperse BEFORE the bill is due.

Contact a Former Student

SIT has an excellent network of alumni available to help speak with prospective and admitted students. Find a returnee here: Contact a Former Student

Orientation

In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs ICON course “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals, and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions, you can email safety-abroad@uiowa.edu.

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.