Sunday, March 31, 2013

The University of Jordan, shopping and our farewell dinner

Sunday marked our last full day in Jordan. After breakfast, we headed out to see the Museum of Royal Cars of the late King Hussein of Jordan and the Mosque of King Abdullah. We then stopped at a Roman Orthodox Church for a quick visit. As a Christian, I welcomed the opportunity to spend a few minutes in prayer given that Sunday marked Easter in the U.S. Interestingly, I learned that for Christians in Jordan, Easter will not be celebrated until May 9th. It appears they follow the Orthodox calendar. It was a wonderful experience and I give thanks for the freedom Christians have in Jordan to worship freely given this is not the case in many other countries in the Middle East.

After leaving the church, we grabbed a light lunch on the bus and headed towards the University of Jordan for a visit with the Vice President of the school and a tour of the campus, which was set up for us by JUST. It was great to see the differences between the University of Jordan and JUST. While both campuses are large and beautiful, the University of Jordan appeared to be more diverse in its student body, most likely due to its location in a large urban center. I didn't feel like I stuck out quite so much as I did at JUST, but it may have been the fact that I was less anxious and unsure as I was when I arrived a week earlier.

Once we arrived on campus, we were welcomed by the VP of The University of Jordan who provided an overview of the university. We then had an interesting discussion about statistics of women employed and enrolled in the University, their fields of study, and the impact of societal norms on women in pursuing higher education. I found it enlightening and helpful in dispelling some misconceptions that I had previously held.

Following our visit to the University, we left for the city Center for shopping and site seeing of the
remains of ancient Roman ruins. I was pleased to find many shops with the kind of things I had been looking for all week. I got to practice my bargaining skills and meet some kind and helpful shop keepers in the meantime. I ended up purchasing so many souvenirs and gifts, that i purchased a small carry on bag in which to carry them all.

After shopping we left for the Flying Windmill, a wonderful open air restaurant where we met up with our hosts from JUST, Dr. Al-Ajlouni and the president and Vice President of the University. The food was delicious and the restaurant provided the perfect atmosphere in which to celebrate our last night in Jordan. It also provided us the opportunity to thank Dr. Al-Ajlouni for the intricate role he played in planning our itinerary and coordinating our visit and for us as a group to commend Ahmad, the leader of our trip, for the humor, grace, and enthusiasm with which he led our group during the trip. We surely will not forget the wonderful experience we have had in Jordan and thank Ahmad for all that he did to positively shape our experiences.

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