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The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Studying in Amman, Jordan

Dear McDermott faculty and friends,

I arrived in Amman last Wednesday, and have had a few days to find my way around the city. I spent Wednesday and Thursday getting settled into my little flat (figuring out how to work the gas stove, adjusting to cold showers). Friday I hitchiked, er, took a bus out to the Dead Sea where I covered myself in mud and tried, unsuccessfully, to force myself under the extremely salty water (pictured below). On Saturday, I ventured to the ruins of a Roman amphitheater downtown (pictured above) and then to a rooftop cafe with a spectacular view of Amman (pictured below). I have placement exams this Wednesday, and classes will officially begin on Sunday. In the meantime, I'm practicing my Arabic in the local shops and with the few friends I've acquired thus far. Amal, my landlady, visited Sunday night with her son and daughter-in-law, and we had a long discussion about the process of learning Arabic, women's rights in the Muslim world, and the challenge of being a businesswoman in the Middle East. I was surprised to learn that this tiny little woman covered with the traditional hijab (who travels only when accompanied by her son or husband) is an astute entrepreneur with multiple real estate ventures across Jordan. Tonight I'll be cheering for Deutschland in the EuroCup at a cafe in the Jebel Amman area of the city with Alla, a friend of my roommate, then back to my flat to study for Wednesday's exam.

Hope all is well in Dallas!

Ma Salamaa,