Snow days

People in the united states tend to assume that the weather in Jordan doesn't get cold because of its location. Can you imagine their surprise when I tell them that its snowing? Yes, the snow is minimal, and no it doesnt last long at all. We have had four "snow days" so far at Qasid. Its nice getting time off from class, but its not nice having to make up the days on the weekend. This is Qasid's policy.
Neighbor playing in the snow
with his grandkid

Watching it snow here is kind of like when it snows in the southern
 states of the US and people who live in snowy areas like me think they're being so over dramatic. Honestly, people rush to the grocery store to stock up on groceries and if you think "oh no big deal I will just go out in the snow." then prepared to have limited grocery options. as delivery of fresh foods and animal products slows. Enjoy the cereal. Freaking out over the snow seems more justifiable in Amman because the hills are so severe. On the last snow day we watched this person try so hard to drive their car up the hill. It kept sliding down. They weren't the only one having this issue so we had some entertainment while we were snowed in. When I was watching the cars play slip and slide out the window I also saw my neighbor playing in the snow with his grandson. This was so cute.

Snow on my street

Since we were snowed in this week my roommates decided to invite Qasid people over. We hadn't stocked up on food and many of the stores were closed. We decided to wonder out to the main street to find a taxi. No taxis were coming. When we noticed Hamada was open up the street it seemed like an obvious choice. 

I was not thrilled to be outside. I especially was not looking forward to walking back home because I hate climbing the hill up to my house, especially in the snow. Nonetheless, I followed the
Trekking to Hamada 
through the snow
 group to Hamadas because I didn't want to seem rude. When we got to Hamadas we saw all the guys that work there had been watching us from the window. They cheered so much when we made it inside. They said we were their only customers. They were just as happy to see us as we were them. Hamada is right across the street from the school so we frequent the place a bit. However, the snow day falafel tasted better than ever.


Landlord made
Mensaf for us
This is my favorite post. I love food in Jordan. OH MY YESS. After a terrible food experience in Meknes, I was excited to find out that I would be returning to Jordan. If you ever talk about going to Jordan or when you first arrive to Jordan people will ask you if you've tried Mensaf. Mensaf is essentially the national meal. Many of my foreign friends don't like mensaf. I am not from them. I love mensaf. Yet, its not my go to food. If you don't like Mensaf, don't worry there's plenty of other options here. 

Grape Leaves w/ Koosa

Side note: If youre a vegetarian its very possible to keep a vegetarian diet. It may be hard to explain what a vegetarian is at first to  host family or at restaurants. You cant just say nabatee as you probably learned in class because most waiters will take it to mean that you just really love vegetables and are some type of vegetable enthusiast. It doesn't communicate to them that you wont eat meat or meat products. Being a vegan will limit your food options and be even more difficult to explain with limited arabic vocabulary, but still its possible. If you don't cook you may end up eating a lot of falafel and hummus for lunch. Okay that's an exaggeration, you will be able to do better than that.

So many good options here: Mensaf, Magloobah, koosa, grape leaves, fettet dejaj, fattet makdous, kibbeh, hummus, falafel, sambusa, oozie, shawarma, shish tawoog, just to name a few. Theres so many more options but I'm getting hungry so this is enough. For as many meals there are there are an equal number of deserts, however Im just going to drop a shameless knafeh plug right now 
because I love knafeh. The balad is a popular place to go to get knafah. I usually go there to meet my friends. My favorite knafeh is either from habiba or nafeesah. My favorite restaurant for a proper meal is Quds and sometimes Jaffra. 

If Arabic food isn't your thing or if you are simply craving some other kind of food there are plenty of options. Amman has many types of restaurants. you can get Chinese, Indian, Armenian, American, Italian, and other types of food. 

In webdeh
If you ever need to get food delivered then the app Talabat is very useful. It can save you a taxi ride and the delivery fees are not too expensive. You can get a range of foods delivered to you, even coffee or deserts. 

If you order delivery you need to be prepared to give a few directions to the delivery driver in Arabic. Some drivers will already know your street or just use google to get to you. One guy added me on whatsapp and asked me to send him my location. that works as a last resort if you cant seem to communicate the directions clearly. 


Mannnn Yall I am ten levels of tired of coming to my internship every week. I am thankful to have this internship. Qasid was very kind to help me find one. However, I am just not loving it. Its an internship with a small civil engineering consulting company. I am doing research on the potentials of PV desalination to provide water for semiarid to arid regions. I am using Jordan as a case study. 
As much as I like this topic, I just do not enjoy making my way here by 8 or 9am on a Saturday.  I spend more time rushing here than I do even being here as I do my research at home then just spend 10 - 20 minutes talking about it once a week. I was hoping to be able to find an internship in a company or business where I could also use arabic. This didn't happen. I am still thankful for the internship though. 

The building is also located in a less than prime location. Its at a dead end in a narrow ally so no taxis will take you fully there. I walk down the super steep hill which is fine. However, the dread of walking back up the hill always sets in about half way through. There is an alternative way to get back to the main road. Its this tine little stair way that's on a super high hill. I tried to do it last week but I got nervous and turned back around. I was not trying to die. I will take the hill up any day over the steep practically mountains side stairs. I have seen a few people take that path so props to them.  

Otherwise, the internship is very good. The professor is very nice and hospitable. I would recommend it, but it just isn't what I was looking for. Maybe I will switch to a new place that better suits my goals. It is nice to be able to do some kind of STEM work while here though and not just arabic. studying solely arabic for so long and so intensively can get monotonous. I would recommend getting an internship or work or volunteer position while in Amman. It can help you integrate into society a bit more while on your study abroad. Especially if the study abroad is for a long period of time.

Here is a clip of some sheep I saw on my way home from my internship. Its in the small field right next to the building. The sheep are not normally here. The owner was taking them out to graze. I stood and watch them for awhile. This sight combined with the view from the top of the hill has been the highlight to my internship. I know I am probably too fascinated by this. It is what it is.


You will spend half of your life waiting for taxis in Amman. Okay, not really, but you do spend a
Getting a taxi at
 sports city circle
 decent amount of time waiving down taxis. I actually don't think the waiting is that bad, but many people get bothered by it. I'm assuming these people don't normally take taxis and probably have a car back in their country. I personally prefer taking taxis than driving, but its not normally an economical or time efficient choice. 

In Amman, taxis aren't that expensive and they are a widespread form of transportation. Taking a bus is also a common choice. You may consider this to save money on your more routine trips like going to class because it does add up. Shared Taxis (the white ones) are also very good options. Using designated shared taxis will save you money and also help you learn your way around a bit more, this is true for the bus too.

catching a taxi
 after class
In my experience, the vast majority of taxi drivers are honest and not trying to rip you off. This week I witnessed a western lady that didn't speak arabic behave very aggressively, condescendingly, and just plain mean to a taxi driver just because she thought the driver was ripping her off. However, it was just that she didn't speak arabic well and she misunderstood. An example of arrogance and ignorance not mixing well. In the end, she and her friend walked away thinking he was a thief and creating more stereotypes. It was a disgusting scene to watch her behave so belligerent like that especially to a man who did not deserve it at all. Im not saying that all taxi drivers are perfect. Don't be naive, some drivers will definitely try to get one over on you. This does not justify treating all taxi drivers as criminals and being so mistrustful and suspicious. If you're unsure, its better to give your driver the benefit of the doubt. They're all humans.

Its not rare for a taxi driver to refuse to take you. This can be such an annoying thing. There are certain reasons why they do not want to take you. 99% of the time its because of traffic and the ride isn't worth their time. And sometimes they just don't want to go to that side of town. The only reason this is so annoying is because you can end up waiting forever. Eventually you will learn the rhythm of  catching a taxi efficiently during busy times.

Funding Your Study Abroad

Hello again,

Qasid orientation 
trip to Ajloon
I want to use this blog post to write about an important topic. I know most college aged people don't have the means to self fund their study abroad. Studying abroad can be very expensive but I will tell you some things that came in handy while I was trying to fund my three study abroads. This post is wholly aimed at US students because I dont know how other uni systems work. 

First, the most useful thing is that I study a critical language. Pretty much all of my scholarships are for people studying critical languages. If you're new to this, critical languages are basically languages that are in high demand and have little supply of speakers. They are languages that the government deems to be high need. Languages can make the list for different reasons. 

If you are lucky enough to be in the beginning of your language journey, you should consider studying a critical language. There are many critical languages from which you may choose. Hopefully you will find one you are genuinely interested in and passionate about too. I will list links below to scholarships that I am familiar with. Im sure there are more out there. Be careful to check the eligibility requirements of each scholarship first to ensure you are eligible.

These are not MSU specific: 


--- Gilman offers more money for studying a critical language, however you are still be eligible even if the language you study is not considered critical. You just wont get the same amount of money. Gilman is need based.


--- The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) is only offered for critical language study. I do not think this is need based though.


--- Only for certain languages, I don't think its need based. Boren has a service requirement. Boren also offers fellowships.


--- This is a very good program. This is limited to certain languages and certain universities. You have to attend a university that has this program. You have to apply and be accepted into the program. It is not a scholarship that you can just apply for a few months before your study abroad. However, it is a good program.

Some nice terrain
These scholarships are MSU Specific 


African Studies Center:
Asian Studies Center:
Center for Gender in  Global Context: 

College of Arts and Letters Scholarships (CAL majors only)

Link with more MSU Arabic study abroad scholarships:

I hope this starter info helps some other students feel less discouraged about attempting to study abroad. I know financing it is often the thing that keeps student from even considering going on a study abroad. Additionally, if you are a future MSU student you should look into doing an independent study abroad. Its still through MSU, but you do not go with a group and you do not have to pay the expensive program fees or the same MSU tuition rate.

I hope this helps.

Hair Braiding, Eyebrow Threading

Hello people,

random wall art
Can I just vent to you my frustrations in finding any oil or hair braiding places in Amman. Honestly, I know there are black people in this city, but what I don't know is where in the world do they get their hair braided? I am not the only person having this issue as I have seen expats posting about it before on facebook. 

I know some african people that live here and all they could suggest was doing it myself or having friends do it. In the end I decided I would do it myself. I don't have an issue with that. What I did have an issue with is that I couldn't find any hair for extensions. These were my struggles the first time coming to Amman. This explains my constant twists and fro during my fist visit. 

more wall art
After this experience, I decided to bring some hair with me this time. I am so glad I did this. I have been braiding my hair myself. Since I knew I would only be here for sixth months it was easy to bring the right amount of hair. I would def recommend doing this for anyone that wants. I just braided my hair before I came then brought some extra hair. It doesn't take up too much extra room in the suit case or weight. Plus even if you somehow are able to find the supplies you need in Amman it will probably be way cheaper just to bring it with you. 

Another option would be to do yarn braids. Yarn can be easily found in Amman. This would save you the hassle of packing any hair as Im sure you would rather save the suitcase space. If you dont know how to braid your own hair try making a post on facebook expats group. there may be people looking to make some extra money. this is probably the best option. 

Wall art in stairwells
 bc I dont have salon pics
Hair braiding salons may not be abundant in Amman, but the regular salons are everywhere. If you have hair that these kinds of salons work with then you will be fine. Hair cuts are often cheaper than in the US (this is hearsay, I don't go to these kinds of salons). What I do know though is that eyebrow threading here is a yasssss okay so much cheaper than in the US and actually they do a way better job on average. 

I've gone to multiple salons (although now I just go to my fav one in webdeh because I 
know the ladies there). I haven't had one bad eyebrow job done here and I haven't paid more than $4 for it either. Plus my eyebrows can already be difficult to deal with because there's just a lot going on, so I definitely give them props for that. I feel like in the US where I live I have to be picky about who I let do them. Most places are still waxing, not threading. I only do threading. Plus, I feel like not every threader does well, so I have to be picky. In Amman I felt like it was less risky and they are much more likely to do well. I didn't hesitate to walk into any salon and get them threaded. 

Getting my eyebrows done also gives me the chance to speak some arabic. I actually learned how to say eyebrows just to get them done. I think I prefer it here in Amman - having inexpensive eyebrow threading but no hair braiding salons than vice versa. I normally braid my hair myself in the US anyway because its more convenient. 

The other thing that maybe some people will think stands out is that most/all salons here are women only. This makes sense for the society. It never seemed strange to me because I pretty much have never/rarely ever seen men in salons because they go to barber shops and women go to salons mainly where I live. However, I guess some people more than others found it noticeable in Amman. This set up makes sense because many different women are getting their hair done. It would not be appreciated by some of them if men were running in and out of the salon. So if you're going to get your hair done just make it a girls trip and leave your guy friends at home for this one.



Hello again,

I think in the short time that I have been in Amman I have gone to a mall more times than I have in my entire life. I'm not sure why I come to the mall so much. 99% of the time I am just going along with friends. There are many malls here in Amman. Some are bigger and nicer than others. Even the small malls have some treasures in them though. For example, it took me forever to discover this halal Chinese place in Majdi Mall. The food is so delicious and amazingly priced. I just discovered it when I went with my friends this week. 

First, I didn't even know Majdi mall existed. Second, I definitely didn't know such an authentic and amazing Chinese food place existed. All of the food is amazing, and its great for satisfying cravings. The family that owns the place is also very kind so that's an added bonus. Although I have driven past Majdi mall plenty of times it just never stood out to me I guess. There's a Carrefour in Majdi mall too so that's always useful.

Mukhtar the first time 
I was here
Mukkhtar mall is another mall that's somewhat on the smaller side. I go to Mukhtar mall more than any other mall because it's right next door to Qasid. I like to go to the Carrefour there or to Haboob to get groceries after class. Sometimes I go to the suq but usually not after class. Mukhtar also has a food court on its top floor. Most students go there to get lunch between or after classes. I got my first sim card at Mukhtar. Just an FYI, if youre trying to get your phone hooked up for the firs time you will need to bring your passport. The phone guy was so nice and helpful. Honestly, Mukhtar mall's main (only?) attraction is the convenience.

Mukhtar post renovations
The malls that I frequent the most here are for sure TAJ Mall, Mecca mall, and sometimes City mall. Galleria mall is also popular, but I don't go there that much. Inside city mall there is a large carrefour for your grocery needs plus an abundant number of clothing stores. Taj Mall has a Cozmo for grocery needs. Cozmo is a good place to find hard to find grocery items. Maybe specialty items that you need imported. This is true for Miles in Mecca mall too. Taj mall has a food court and many non-fast food restaurants. Taj has game areas such as Magic planet arcade for children and a daycare called Eco tots. Theres a cinema inside so if you want to catch a movie while your friends or family shop you can do that too. 

Mecca and City mall have many similar things to Taj but I think Taj is the fanciest followed by Mecca mall. Taj, City, and Mecca mall are all good to do your banking in too, especially if you dont have a card that can just use any ATM. Malls are also good places to go to pay for your wifi or phone service. Most of the malls have websites so if you are looking for a specific place or store you could just check out the website.