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SIT Jordan Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Internship = Summer

Study Abroad = 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 9/24

Fall 2/24

Summer 3/4

market with vegetables and man shopping

*Please note, the summer program is a stand alone internship & seminar: SIT Jordan Counseling & Humanitarian Action Internship. The Fall & Spring programs are more traditional study abroad with either an independent study project/research or an internship and seminar as one of their 5 classes: SIT Jordan Refugees, Health & Humanitarian Action.

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

Academic Program

This program is a study abroad program in Fall and Spring, and an internship in the summer.

Please see the SIT website for information on academics for Summer.

Please see the SIT website for information on academics for Spring and Fall.

Examine firsthand the ongoing humanitarian relief response to the regional Syrian refugee crisis while in Jordan, with special focus on refugee health response.

For the fall and spring semester programs: Choose to take three or six credits of Modern Standard Arabic.

The summer offering will be internship-based. The internship will help you understand the priorities of a refugee relief program including consideration for water supply, sanitation and hygiene; food security, nutrition and food aid; shelter, settlement and health services. In addition, you’ll learn about conflict-related traumas and psychosocial challenges of assimilation. During your internship, you will be introduced to the guidelines for counseling, mental health, and psychological support in emergencies.

This program addresses the political, social, cultural, and economic factors behind the influx of refugees to Jordan, as well as the effects of this influx on host communities. Through field visits and on-site lectures, you will learn firsthand the priorities, principles, rights, and duties governing humanitarian action, in addition to the challenges UN agencies, international relief organizations, and Jordan’s government face in both emergency and post-emergency phases. The program's excursion to Switzerland will allow you to compare and contrast the humanitarian response to Syrian refugees and the challenges refugees and host communities face in the contexts of two countries.

Major topics of study include:

  • The role of UN and international relief agencies in refugee assistance and humanitarian action
  • The impact of refugees on the economy and various social sectors of the host community
  • Health status, risk factors, and health services available to refugees
  • Mental health and psychosocial challenges in refugee populations
  • Gender-specific vulnerabilities within refugee populations

For more information, see SIT's webpage.

Program Structure

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.

Cultural Activities

RURAL JORDAN: You will visit health centers and associations providing health services to refugees in local host communities. You’ll experience everyday life in rural areas of Jordan and study alternative medical treatments.

PETRA: At this UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll take in the splendors of the ancient city of Petra, a world-famous archeological wonder featured in Indiana Jones “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

WADI RUM: Heading further south, you’ll behold the vast desert of Wadi Rum (Valley of the Moon), the shooting location for much of “Lawrence of Arabia” and many other films. You’ll enjoy an afternoon of desert trekking around the vast and awe-inspiring sandstone mountains.

NORTHERN HEIGHTS: More than 80 percent of Syrian refugees are located in northern Jordan. During this excursion, you will be able to assess the impact of refugees on host communities and visit key sites:

SWITZERLAND: You’ll spend most of your stay in the capital, Geneva. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with experts about the international refugee system and learn about the challenges facing health relief agencies providing refugee protection and assistance. You’ll visit the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Explore Old Geneva with its quaint chateaux and fine arts museums. Enjoy a cruise along the shores of Lake Geneva and experience the city’s rich history, architecture, and cuisine. You’ll have time to explore nearby Lausanne, one of Switzerland’s prettiest cities, with medieval shop-lined streets and an ornate 12th century Gothic cathedral.

*The Switzerland portion of the semester program is dependent on several factors and is not a guaranteed component of the semester program.

Program Dates

Spring Semester: Early February - Mid May

Fall Semester: Early September - Mid December

Summer internship: Mid June to Early August

For more information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with SIT, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa. 
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.
  


Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353
Email: study-abroad@uiowa.edu

Amman

mosque in Amman

Amman is the capital and largest city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan with a population of more than four million. Amman forms a great base for exploring not just Jordan, but the wider region as well and does, despite popular belief, offer much that is of interest to the traveler. The city is generally reasonably well-organized, enjoys great weather for much of the year and the people are very friendly. Roman theater Although Amman can be difficult to penetrate at first sight, the city holds many surprises for the visitor. Visit Amman's Roman Amphitheatre, its many art galleries or the newly opened Jordan Museum, while an afternoon away on a chic cafe terrace, take a course in the University of Jordan or stay in luxurious hotels and dine on the region's varied and delicious cuisine. Modern shopping malls are increasingly abundant in Jordan but open air souqs are what many travelers will remember most. Amman is experiencing a massive (some would say: reckless) change from a quiet sleepy village to a bustling metropolis, some of whose neighbourhoods seem hell-bent on wanting to imitate Dubai. Amman's roads have a reputation of being very steep and narrow in some of parts of the city but the city has state of the art highways and paved avenues. The steep terrain and heavy traffic remains challenging for pedestrians and for the rare cyclist. New resorts and hotels dot the city and there are many things for the traveller to see and do in and around Amman.

Jordan

Jordan is a country the Levant region of the Middle East that is almost land-locked save for a small 28km outlet on the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aqaba and a frontage on the Dead Sea). It's bordered by Israel and the West Bank (Territory of Undetermined Permanent Status) to the west, by Syria to the north, by Iraq to the east and by Saudi Arabia to the south. Jordan has a large collection of archaeological sites, ranging from important biblical attractions to temples carved into the rock.

For most of its history since independence from British administration in 1946, Jordan was ruled by King Hussein (1953-99). A pragmatic ruler, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers of the US, USSR and UK, various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population, through several wars and coup attempts. In 1989 he resumed parliamentary elections and gradually permitted political liberalization; in 1994 a formal peace treaty was signed with Israel. King Abdullah II - the eldest son of King Hussein and Princess Muna - assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999. Since then, he has consolidated his power and established his domestic priorities, including an aggressive economic reform program. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in January 2000, and signed free trade agreements with the United States in 2000, and with the European Free Trade Association in 2001. There is no hostility between Muslims and Christians, and Jordan is one of the friendliest, most modern and liberal nations in the region yet, at the same time, it has maintained an authentic feel of being in the heart of the Middle East. Jordanian culture is fairly homogeneous, but you will probably notice a fairly distinct social difference between the Bedouin areas, particularly in the South and urban West Ammanites, for example.

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

The homestay provides you with an excellent opportunity to experience Jordanian lifestyles, perspectives, and values while learning about health disparities, community development, and sustainability in Jordan.

You will spend the entire program period, other than the time on excursions, living with a homestay family in 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-generation 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. The homestay in Amman allows you to better understand the life of a Jordanian family and gives you a unique opportunity to further enhance your speaking abilities.

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

Educational Excursions

Street and market in Amman

Southern Excursion

This excursion takes you to southern Jordan. You will visit local health centers and associations that provide health services to local communities and urban refugees living in host communities. You will also have the opportunity to experience everyday life in this part of Jordan and study some alternative medical treatments available to local communities. Highlights of this excursion include:

  • Dana Nature Reserve: The dynamic topography of the Dana Nature Reserve extends from the top of the Jordan Rift Valley to the desert lowlands of Wadi Araba. You will experience the reserve’s impressive mountains, the ancient ruins of Feinan, the cliffs of Wadi Dana, and the village Dana.
  • Petra: You will spend a day visiting Petra, a treasure of the ancient world and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Wadi Rum: Wadi Rum is among the most stunning desert landscapes in the world. In Wadi Rum, you will experience the exceptional hospitality of desert people and Bedouin tribes and discuss health issues and healthcare systems available to local populations.

Northern Heights Excursion

This excursion takes you to visit the ruins of two Greek Decapolis cities: Jerash (Jerasa) and Um Qais (Jadara) as well as Ajloun's Nature Reserve and the area's historical and natural attractions. The Northern part of Jordan is hosting more than 80% of Syrian refugees; this excursion will enable you to assess the impact of refugees on local host communities here.

  • Um Quais: You will experience the Greek and Ottoman remains of Jadara and enjoy sweeping views over the Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee.
  • Jerash: You will experience the extraordinary remains of the ancient city of Jerash, one of the most impressive and best preserved Roman cities outside of Italy, located a little less than 50 kilometers north of Amman..
  • Ajloun: Just northwest of Jerash is the town of Ajloun, home to the Castle of Ajloun or Qalaat Errabadh (Arabic for "hilltop castle"). The fortress was built by Muslims from 1184–1185 as a military fort and buffer to protect the region from invading Crusader forces. You will spend a night at the Ajloun Forest Lodge, which occupies a large grassy clearing, enclosed by oak, pistachio, and strawberry trees. The lodge offers beautiful views of the reserve; occasionally one can see as far away as Jebel Sheikh in Lebanon.

Madaba, Mount Nebo, and the Dead Sea Excursion

  • Madaba: Madaba is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of Palestine and the Nile delta located in the nineteenth-century St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church. You will visit the site and enjoy a smaller but still populous Jordanian city. Then, you will travel to Mount Nebo, which, according to ancient tradition, is the mountain from which Moses saw the Promised Land.
  • The Dead Sea: The Dead Sea is the most spectacular natural landscape in Jordan. It is also one of the world's richest sources of natural salts and an important site for skin care with therapeutic minerals.

Switzerland Excursion

The program includes an excursion to Switzerland, spending most of the stay in Geneva, a major international capital. This excursion will provide you with an opportunity to learn from experts about the international refugee system, the global refugee status, and the challenges health and relief agencies face in providing refugee protection and assistance. The excursion includes visits to UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross, WHO, and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

You will also get the chance to explore old Geneva, visit chateaus and arts and culture museums, enjoy a cruise along the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva, and experience Geneva’s rich history, architecture, and cuisine. An excursion to Lausanne, one of Switzerland’s prettiest cities on Lake Geneva, provides the opportunity to explore the city’s markets and medieval Old Town.

Passport

US Citizens

If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Important notice for students without a valid passport or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:

US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Students without a valid passport should apply for a new passport or a passport renewal as early as possible.

Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for the visa you will need to enter your host country.

Expedited processing service is available for US passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

Non-US Citizens

Students who are not US citizens should contact their consulate for more information if they need to get a new passport or renew their passport.

Travel Arrangements

Students will work with their program provider to make travel arrangements to their program site. The cost of travel is not included in the course fee. UI Study Abroad will not arrange a group flight to your study abroad destination.

Do not purchase plane tickets until you have received instructions on how to do so from your program provider.

Local Transportation

Within your host city and around the country, students will utilize public transportation such as buses and trains. Excursions and general travel require a lot of walking, so bring some comfortable shoes!

*Please note, the summer program is a stand alone internship & seminar: SIT Jordan Counseling & Humanitarian Action Internship. The Fall & Spring programs are study abroad with either an independent study project/research or an internship and seminar as one of their 5 classes: SIT Jordan Refugees, Health & Humanitarian Action.

Eligibility

This program is open to UI students who fulfill the following requirements:

  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA: Students must have at minimum a 2.5 cumulative GPA to participate in this program.
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing: Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the University of Iowa. Academic and disciplinary history will also be considered when determining whether a student is prepared to represent the University of Iowa as part of this program. Students who, even after being accepted into a program, are put on either academic and/or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad. In these cases, students must forfeit their acceptance, will not be allowed to study abroad, and are wholly responsible for any and all financial expenses incurred.

Costs

The cost sheet 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. There is a $50 application fee charged to a student's U-Bill at the time of application.Please note that for study abroad programs through Fall 2022, students will not be charged the $50 UI application fee until travel is assured. If a student chooses to withdraw prior to the application fee being billed, it will not be charged. There is also a subsequent $50 application fee charged by SIT. Total application fee charges equal $100.

Estimated Cost Sheet

How to Apply

Interested students should make an appointment with the designated UI Study Abroad advisor to discuss the program and the application process. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 319-335-0353. During the appointment, the advisor will provide full application instructions. Note: Application materials will not be reviewed unless a student has already met with the advisor to discuss the program.

The application process consists of the following steps:

• Complete the UI Online Application for Study Abroad. Please note that the non-refundable $50 application fee will be charged to your U-Bill as part of this online application.

• Complete the SIT Application. Final admissions decisions to the program are made by SIT.

Application Deadline

Deadlines are relative. This program often fills early. Spots are first come, first served.

Applications are due on February 24 for Fall study abroad.

Applications are due on September 24 for Spring study abroad.

Applications are due on March 4 for summer internships.

Acceptance and Confirmation Materials

Coming soon.

Health & Safety Planning

In addition to submitting their Confirmation of Participation form, students should review the following:

Study Abroad Resources

Passports and Visas

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

Students are also encouraged to complete the PDFHealth Preparation Guide for International Travel form with their medical practitioner. This document is intended to help you plan for your medical needs abroad. Please DO NOT turn this form in to UI Study Abroad.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

For more information about receiving financial aid while studying abroad, please review the following:UI Financial Aid Information

You can find more information about options for funding your study abroad experience including scholarships on Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad.

SIT automatically gives students from Big Ten institutions a $1,500 scholarship. There is no application necessary, the credit 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!

Visa

U.S. passport holders should follow the Visa batch process instructions provided by SIT. Make sure to submit all required documents by the submission deadline. Otherwise you will have to apply for your student visa independently.

U.S. Citizens will need a student visa if they are going abroad for a semester, or academic year. Typically, they will not need a visa for the summer sessions.

UI Study Abroad will hold advising appointments and/or information sessions to provide details on the visa application process. UI Study Abroad staff can provide some assistance on the Italian visa application process, but ultimately the individual traveler (the student) is the person who is responsible for providing correct information on the visa application and securing the visa and all other required documentation prior to travel.

Prior to starting the visa application process check in with SIT for more information; they have a preferred timeline that students need to follow.

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.

Pre departure Resources

SIT will provide you with a variety of pre-departure resources to prepare you for your study abroad experience. These will include a packing list, cultural information, housing instructions, etc. Ensure that you thoroughly review any information provided to you by SIT and refer back to it if you have any questions.

These materials may be periodically updated to reflect new program information prior to departure. Be sure to check your SIT Account often.