Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Facing Change

There are so many things that I want to write about.  So many different ideas but the one that has been haunting me the most lately is just the adjustment that I will be encountering soon.  Last night I went to meet one of my American friends who went home today.  She was very excited about going home but as you always feel, she had a bit of a tear in her eye for all the friends and connections that she would be leaving behind.

Memoirs of America
The other night I had a dream about going home.  My friends and family are counting down the days to my return and after talking to my grandma who was planning every detail once my flight landed, I couldn't help but dream of it.  In my dream I got home and we were having our annual county fair.  My uncle went to pick me up from the airport and we stopped at the fair for a few minutes.  One of my Jordanian friends was sitting at the booth were the judges set and once I saw him I got so confused, but at the same time I was surprised.  Then my uncle and I had to leave before I could talk to my friend and we were driving around the city and even though it was my hometown, I felt so strange in it.  Like, that part of me was only a memory and everything that I knew was locked away in another world.  I started to go through reverse culture shock.  This life was no long my life and now all these people who where around me were just part of my previous life and could not relate to who I am--currently.  The rest of the dream was me trying to get back to any bit of comfort that I could find in my Jordanian friends.

In the dream I kept thinking that I was still in Jordan but I was trying to convince myself that I was actually in America.  It all seemed so strange to me.  But once I actually woke up, I was still in Jordan.  It was such a trip on my emotions.  It's amazing how my body can so easily be transferred to a different place by a few hours in an airplane.  Yet, it takes weeks if not months for my mind and dreams to adjust.  I know that with every experience I go through a part of me will change--hopefully for the better--but change causes differences and distance with people.  When you go to college you don't connect with your high school friends like you once did.  Once you lived abroad for a year or as my friends do, four years, it makes it a completely different when you return home.  Your experiences are all different and in the beginning, often we just long to have someone there who is just a constant--thus represented by my Jordanian friend in my dream.

New friends in Jordan
I talk to my friends and family and they are so happy that I will be coming home soon.  They are planning out everything and we're figuring out dates, but at the same time, my friends here have just numbed themselves to the idea that I will be leaving them.  I asked one of them today what will happen when I leave and they replied simply that they don't think about it as a way of hoping that the end will be different then what we know it will be.  Everyone asks if I'm coming back and I tell them yes, but it doesn't mean that life will be the same as it is not when I come back.  Change can be hard.  Especially abrupt change, but yet we still have to go through it.  If we don't change then we don't grow.  It's inevitable.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


  Distance is an amazing thing.  In astronomy we talked about the planets, the solar system, the galaxy, the universe.  It all was so hard to comprehend--more like a pretty picture or a virtual tour that we just looked at and admired--not reality.  It's amazing just how big and small the world is all at once.  Traveling can be so eye opening if you allow it to be.  Some times I just lay there in bed thinking about the universe.  Imagining this picture that was painted for me in astronomy, then I start to zoom in on just our own individual planet.  Even up to know my grandma and I just stayed shocked that technology has allowed us to stay in touch even though there is so much distance between us.  In real time I can talk to my grandma on the other side of the planet.  She and I have eight hours of a time difference but yet I can still talk to her.

  This past summer when my Saudi friends returned home for Ramadan, I remember talking to them and asking where the sun was.  I would ask them, "Do you see the sun?  Can you send it my way."  No matter how far in distance we are, there are some "universal" consistencies in our world.  The sun is the same no matter where we are and the stars are still all the same and so are people.  Before I left for Jordan I remember just looking up at the stars and taking comfort that no matter where I go, the stars will still be the same.  The world never sleeps.  I will always be able to see the big dipper from any place in the northern hemisphere.  Walking home at nights it always makes me feel so connect to see the basic constellation as I did back in Oklahoma.

  Just as well, not matter the distance, people are always the same.  I jokingly told my friend the other day that there was life in Jordan.  He asked how Jordan was and I said, "Well, there is actually life here!  It's not just a story that they tell me about.  Perhaps there isn't really life in China, I don't know, I haven't been there yet."   It's just amazing how life goes on all the time all around the world and it's so humbling whenever you just take the moment to think about the approaching seven billion people in the world and how they are all so similar.

  We all have drives and desires.  We all seek love, companionship, adventure, and truth.  We all justify our own thoughts and we try to make sense of the world around us.  Things motivate us to act one way or the other way and all through often times the majority of our misunderstandings are explained in just completely different ways of thinking, we still have the same primal motivators.  All humans are motivated by pride, respect, expectations, culture, ambition, greed, desire...the list goes on.  Whenever trying to understand another culture or another point of view, I take comfort that most likely, it's rooted in one of these most basic human emotion that we all can understand.

  When talking to a friend today, we discussed how people are people.  He said, "You can't find a place where everyone is bad."  I thought that was a very optimistic point of view.  I liked it.  Given in any situation, you will find good hearted people--any faith, any culture, any location or vocation.  People are always bound to surprise us and to cut a whole in the boxes we have build for them.  When you really start to get to know someone, you'll discover that they are much more complicated then we think they are.

  I love meeting people.  I love exploring but most of all, I like to just explore people.  Last night over an ice cream treat my friends and I were talking about our hobbies--a very elementary language lesson, but I was a good question just to start to better understand my own friends.  It's amazing how you can be friends with someone for so long but when you go to a public meeting where they have to give a random piece of information they can completely surprise you with stuff you don't know about them.  Last night we asked this public group question about hobbies and I surprised myself whenever I said that one of my hobbies is just meeting people (I make up stuff all the time that usually these ideas don't really come out until I make it up randomly on the spot).  I like to explore and learn.  I think that every person I met is an unread book, a new expedition that is to be traveled.  We are all so vast and deep no matter where we come from and I love to just explore people.  You can think you know someone but after 10 years most likely they've changed so much that you get to learn about them all over again.  I love it.  Meeting new people from all over just reminds me of how universal we all really are.

  Yet at the same time, even the slightest distance can change everything.  In Amman, Jordan, it is normal to find a girl wearing a vail and pants and a young guy wearing shorts, but if you go just 30 minutes to the city of Salt, expectations are completely different.  Just moving from one part to the other can change so much.  It takes around five hours or less to get from Amman to Tel Aviv (it's hard to judge because of transportation and boarder time fluctuations) but just reminiscing on the abrupt change in culture and mindsets amazes me.  In Jordan a girl is bound by the expectations of her community in so many ways but five hours away, girls are out on the street at 4 am going to the club in a mini skirt with no consequences.

  It's amazing.  Distance.  It can change so little and also change so much.  I often like to think of the world as a watercolor piece where colors bleed into the next and slowly fade into a new color.  In this world our distance and neighbors help color our world so much.  As you look at the cultures around the world, usually they change very gradually.  You can see the Indian influence in the Middle East as well as the African and the European.  Even between Israel and it's neighbors, even though the gradient is more abrupt, still parts of the Arab culture bleeds into the Israeli culture.

  Whenever I'm alone or lonely, I like to look to the heavens just because they remind me that we are all together and we all face the same problems and complications.  "Nothing is new under the sun."  As quoted from P.S. I Love You, if we are all alone, then we are all together in this too.  It's amazing how far away I can be from my friends yet I can feel so close.  Simple dialogue helps quench the ache of loneliness.  Communication even in distance helps heal the heart from sorrow.

  Loneliness it the downfall of mankind.  It's not good for man to be alone.  We are social creatures and no matter how far or near people are to us, the most important part of companionship is not a matter of physical connection (although we need that too) but most a matter of emotional connection.  No matter the distance, I still feel loved when I get an e-mail from my best friend or when my friend messages me on Facebook every day.  I feel connected and so close even though we're literally worlds apart.  Looking up at night or at the dawn or the day I remember that no matter how far I am away, I will always be so near.


How can someone so close
Be allowed to be so far away

Your red leaves fall in the evening
While Im waking up to smog these days
You know how I love when the sun touch my skin
But I still miss your thoughts on rain
So come and save me over the thin phone line
Just one of those days
Where you learn to fly
WIth broken wings
My thoughts are on an airplane home
While my feet are still on the ground
But you were never late
To pick up the phone and call
Now it's fall and I miss 
Making love in the sunday afternoon sunlight
Wednesday, thursday
One down, a billion to go
With glasses foggy you're losing sight
So come and I'll save you over this thin phone line"

"Across Waters Again"


Just once again...pillow talk.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Being between Worlds

  I find myself in a very precarious situation.  I am in no way ethnically Arab.  I have ancestry that I know of that is connected to the Middle East.  I am a "true" American made up of over 20 different ethnicities.  I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma and had absolutely no interactions with Arabs until I went to college.  The only background that I had with the Middle East was a brief introduction to Islam in a World History class that basically introduced me to the 5 pillars of Islam, an anti-Islamic service we had at my church one year with a guest Palestinian speaker who use to be a Muslim, and all the anti-Arab politics that swarmed America after 9/11.

  Originally I wanted to study World Religions which in a large part why I choose to go to the University of Oklahoma.  Once I started to look into the major, I realized that I actually just wanted to study Islam and Islamic culture.  I remember about a month after I graduated from high school I was talking to my mom and I told her that I wanted to be a Middle Eastern Studies major and she just laughed at me and said, "You're already changing your mind."

  I started to study Arabic and I never realized how much of an undertaking it was before I enrolled in the class.  The first day of class the instructor started writing right to left and I was amazed.  I didn't know you could do that!  The longer I studied the more and more frustrated I got until I realized that the conventional classroom setting was not ideal for me.  This is when I started to think about study abroad in order to study Arabic.

  Only two fall seasons ago I really started to learn about the personality of the Middle East.  I started to make different friends from all around the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt.  Once you know one person you met another.  By the end of my second year in college the vast majority of my friends were actually from the Middle East and although I am by no way of any Middle Eastern ethnicity, I find myself at home among the culture.  This culture is my passion, my study, my friends, and a large part of what I consider my family.  I joined the student group for Arab students and I became a very active part in it.  I was use to creating events so it really came quite natural to help plan, promote, and host the different cultural events that I was a part of.  But the most important part of my experiences was the people that I meet and got to know.  I remember one person telling me that I didn't even need to go to the Middle East because I had been working with Arabs the whole time, I know how they work.

  When I came to Jordan I did not experience as much of a culture shock as one would have expected.  I couldn't speak Arabic so that was difficult, but when I talked to my friends and family crying it wasn't a matter of culture, but loneliness.  I felt so lonely since I didn't know anyone and because I didn't have the language to meet people.  I quickly adapted to the culture because I was already use to it.  Perhaps there was one moment when I was finding the Royal Jordanian airlines at the O'Here International Airport and I scanned the long hall of airlines and I there saw nothing but Arabs standing--well, not in line, more a mob--and thought,  "Oh no, what did I get myself into" but I have never regretted it.

Toola and LuLu in Jordan  <3!!!!!
  Jordan was the first time for me to have to interact with non-collegeage Middle Easterners and with people who were completely separate from the Western world (unlike my friends at home) but everyday even up to now has been a fun adventure.  Of course as you may have read, there are parts that I hate about Jordanian culture, but just as well there are parts that I hate about American culture.

  When thinking about going home in a few months my hearts sinks.  Yes, I hate all the extra attention I get in Jordan, but, in a large part of my identity if found in these people.  My humor, my language, my own ideas and behaviors have been developed in this culture, with these people.  I found myself in this middle ground between the two worlds.  I listen to my Arab friends and nod my head at whatever extreme they present me, but I go to church in the US and nod my head at their extremes as well.  I have learned how to understand, at least try to understand, both sides and more often than anything I just find myself sitting in the middle.  I'm not only American, but I'm not only from this culture as well.  I make French toast for breakfast but when I'm out of toast I go eat hummus and pita bread.  (toast by the way is the Arab word for sandwich bread like Sara Lee and pita bread it the American word for خبز)

  One of my friends here in Jordan and I were talking about this mixed world we live in.  She is half Jordanian and half Moroccan but she was born and raised in Texas.  Middle Easterners such as her and my other Middle Eastern friends who have now lived in the States for a substantial amount of time understand completely my point of view.  As we discussed, it is impossible for us to just give up our American side and become all Arab.  When one of our students at the center where we work brought Sara Lee cheesecake to the center, you could most definitely tell that we were both American because of the size of slice we got.  But on the other hand, I'm not only American.  I made jokes that pun off of the different social and political problems in this area.  The more Arabic I learn, the more Arabic I have started to insert automatically in my speech, wellah I do!  I have to remind myself to not use Arabic when I'm talking to my mom or grandma or friends from high school because they won't know it.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre -- Jerusalem 
  My students ask me if I like Jordan all the time.  They ask me which I like more, America or the Middle East.  I hate this question.  It's like asking who you like more, your father that you have always known or you husband that you only met five years ago.  Both of them are such a part of me that I can't forget or favor either of them.  My students say that I like adventure, which is true.  I love exploration and contingency, but that is not the only reason why I love the Middle East.  I love this culture, I love the faiths found here and even the problems that these faiths have created,  I love the long established ideas and mindsets that you find here and I love the people.  I love people and the Middle East is the heart of the world.  The Middle East is so vast and so multicolored and I love it.  People are forced to face the realities of culture and religion here because it stares them in the face every single day.  Three of the world's largest religions were founded in this land and Jerusalem, sitting in the middle of a very Arab drenched society, holds a key to all of them.

  When being in the middle, I find it important to know who to reach people where they are.  Of course the vast majority of people I met will not be in the same place where I am, but since I know both, I think it's important for me to met them where they are.  When I talk to my American friend back in the States, I always try to get involved in her life even though it has absolutely no connect to the world I'm currently living in, but at the same time, when I'm talking to my friends here, I can't just shut down when they tell me about how her parents stopped talking to her because she got caught talking to a boy on Skype because it's so different from American culture.  When being in the middle you have to meet people and not always expect them to meet you.  It doesn't mean that I always have to die to myself and not show one half of myself to everyone, I can show the other side, but I always have to keep in mind that there might be parts that they may not understand, and that's normal.

  When walking with a friend to go grocery shopping, she asked me if I had known all the problems I would face when coming to Jordan--the sexual harassment, being homeless for a week, being stalked and so on--would I still have come.  Without a second thought I said yes.  Absolutely.  So many things have happened that were negative, but in all negative things, you just have keep moving forward and eventually you'll be out of it.  Coming to Jordan has taught me SO much that I would have never given it up for anything...regardless of all that has happened.  I complain and get frustrated but I can't deny this world.  We're too connected to forget it now and I never want to.

  I shack when I hear hate talk on both sides.  I humble down in admiration when I see a Muslim praying in the streets or when I see a Christian praying at church on Sunday.  I wave my American flag proudly, but I also have the Hamsa on a necklace and the Kabba on my keychain.  This is me.  Here I am and here I will always be.

 (I'll probably adopt the Spanish culture as well later in life but first I've given myself a decade to live and learn about all of the other Levantine countries--just a note)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"The Need for English in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan"

 The Need for English
in The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

May 5, 2013 | Tasha Overpeck | IAS 3910
 under the supervision of
Dr. Joshua Landis and Rachel Stokes

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has a long history with the English language and even though the Kingdom’s only official language is Modern Standard Arabic, which is taught in school, English is undoubtedly an undeclared second language.  Although by far not everyone in Jordan speaks English, the majority (especially in the capital city of Amman) can at least read and understand a good amount of the English that they hear or read.  All road signs are bilingual in Arabic and English and nearly very place you go there will be someone who can speak English enough to help you.
The history of Jordan started when the British decided to create a dependent regime to help order the tribes east of the Jordan River after World War I.[i] They then gave the British mandate to the son of Sherif Hussein bin Ali, Abdullah I bin al-Hussein who had been a close ally of the British.  The Kingdom of Jordan was granted independence in 1946 with Abdallah as their self-proclaimed king.  After King Abdallah’s death, his grandson, Husayn, became king at the age of eighteen in 1953.  It is said that King Hussayn had “impeccable English” because he studied at Harrow and Sandhurst, two well-known British schools, but at the same time spoke eloquent Arabic.[ii]  After his death in 1999, his second son took the thrown, King Abdullah the Second and according to many Jordanians, the current king actually has better English than he does Arabic since he was born to a British mother.
Regardless of the long political history of English being used amount the Royal Family, Jordan is only rated as having a small market for English amount the common people.[iii]   English teachers should only expect to break out even when working in Jordan.  Like much of the current Jordanian economy, the pay rate for English teachers is significantly low.  It is rumored that the average salary of a Jordanian family is only 300JD, which is what an English teacher starting out should expect to get paid.  Thanks to a low living cost, this still permits English Teachers to live somewhat comfortable if they do not have a family but doesn’t allow them to save money from their work. 
Jobs are hard to come by until you actually get to the Kingdom.  To start working in Jordan, a teacher usually needs to come and start looking for a job with face-to-face interviews.  This can be a high start off cost with no promise of a job, but once you get on-site in Jordan, you will realize the demand for English teachers is much higher that it appears on paper (or more commonly on the computer screen). 
According to the ESL Base, a website that helps English teachers find English training centers all around the world, there are thirteen English centers in Amman.  Once you start to search for a job in Amman, you will quickly find that there are many more private, small businesses where a native English-speaking teacher can find a job with either a British or an American accent.[iv]   Students want to speak with native speakers because they want to learn the accent.  This makes it easier for native speakers to get a job even if they do not have a degree, or even a certification, in teaching English. Unfortunately, this high demand for native speakers is never on par with the pay.
In Jordan, “English is strongly emphasized in education as a language that should open the door to the West.  English is regarded as the language that provided Jordanian citizens with a bridge to the non-Arabic speaking world.”[v]  Although English has no official recognition in Jordan, it is a priority in the country’s foreign languages.  Children learn it in school.  “English language teaching is widely supported financially: in university libraries, in book shops, and also in schools, one can see a wide range of English teaching-materials, books in English and about English…”[vi]
There are many factors that contribute to this seemingly over-demand for English in this Middle Eastern 90% Arab community, three of which include: overall functionality, internationalized education, and the evolving job market.  When asking an English student why they want to study English their responses are generally all the same.  It either has something to do with needing to pass an international English test or so that they can get a better job.  Commonly students might stare at you blankly as if the question is just too obvious.  The need for English in Jordan has grown so much to the point that to most citizens it is bluntly obvious that English will help contribute to their overall life.  Ironically, English has more of an affect on their lives then the desired affects of functionality, education, and getting a better job, but it also changes cultural ideas in social classes and it has profoundly impacted the younger generation in Jordan.
Overall Functionality
In the simplest regards, by learning English, the overall functionality in the life of the learner is greatly enhanced.  In the social realm, learning English can help you to better understand international social medias that are commonly published in English—social media such as Facebook or YouTube.  Although these programs are often translated into Arabic, many users have used these social medias to help connect with the rest of the outside world.  Most people here now have some kind of contact with people from outside of the Arab World and in order to easily communicate with them they need English.  Even if you are Arab and your friend is from Taiwan, you will most like use English to communicate with them.[vii]
The movie industry also has a huge influence on the younger generation and their desire to learn English.[viii]  When you go to a movie theatre any where in Jordan, you will find at least half of the movies are in English with Arabic subtitles.  Movies on television are often shown in English with Arabic subtitles or are dubbed in Arabic.  Although there is somewhat of a movie industry in the Arab world, it isn’t nearly as big as Hollywood or as advanced.  The inferior Arab movie industry helps feed into the appeal of the American movies that, therefore, encourages Jordanians to learn English so that they can simply understand the movies.
This functionality also evolves beyond western-based media, to technologies that were made in dominantly English speaking countries.  The Western World (meaning primarily Europe and North America) is the leader in developing new technologies that sweep the globe today.  Computers, which have become a human necessity even in lower developed countries such as Jordan, are originally programmed in English.  They might say that they are programmed for Arabic, but ultimately, you need to know English in order to function with these new technologies.[ix]  You now find that words for social media, new electronic technology (e.g. computers and phones), and even the mechanical industries (e.g. automobile) are commonly just called by their English name.  “A steering wheel is just “steering,” you can’t give it another name.”[x]
At an academic level, English is important because it allows students to stay up-to-date with the newest research.  Whereas the Western World is developing much of the new technologies and sciences, it is important for Jordanians to know English so that they can read the newest bulletin about a breaking research or so that they can comfortably attend an international conference in their field which will broaden their understanding as well as keep them up to speed with the newest advances in their field.[xi]
That being said, English for functionality is mostly based on the need to be able to stay up to par with the newest knowledge.[xii] English is the “international language” producing new research in every field.  Instead of waiting for a computer program to be translated into Arabic or instead of waiting for a new research or a new service to be translated into Arabic—a language that is hardly used outside of the Arab World—the English speaker can go directly to the source and keep themselves at the newest standard in their field.  This is one of the largest motivators for Jordanians to learn English.  It is often why you might get so many blank stares when asking them why they want to learn English.  Even though many students do not want to study English, it is considered the most practical language for life therefore students learn it.[xiii]  By knowing English they can keep up with the rest of the world.
Internationalized Education
The education system has constantly been evolving and has had some drastic changes in the past 50 years.  The international community affects Jordan in academic concepts and presentation in both primary education and university levels.  The influence and implantation of international curriculum and schools has continued to develop Jordan’s need of English.  As the country continues to grow in every aspect it relies more and more on foreign education standards.
Starting with the elementary school, in the past five years there has been a change in the curriculum where as students start to study English in KG1 and KG2.[xiv]  Students start to study the basics of English such as colors and shapes and their grammar and vocabulary is constantly developed through the years.  Regrettably, in most public elementary schools, the height of the education in English is largely stunted due to the lack of concentration on the subject.[xv]  In private schools on the other hand, English is highly emphasized because many of the more expensive privates schools are actually American or British schools.  These schools can often be taught completely in English (accept for Arabic and Religion which are taught in Arabic).  This gives the upper classes in Jordan a huge advantage over the rest of the population when it comes to their functionality and within the job market.
In order to graduate, ever student in Jordan has to take the national final test that is collative for all the major subjects that a student takes while in high school, which includes English.  The students are then scored according to their test results quick determines which majors they are allowed to get into.  If they do not score high enough in English, it will limit their selection for not only the university that they can get into, but also the majors that they can study.  The top desired majors, such as law or medicine, require a student to get very high scores on their national test.  If a student does not perform well in his/her English sections of the test, the student might not be able to get into the field of their choice.
 Inside the university level, international education standards dictate every part of their educational expectations.  The University of Jordan was first established in 1962 and is the oldest university in Jordan as well as the largest.  In the Middle East it is regarded as one of the best universities.  In all of its scientific majors, the lectures and the textbooks are all in English.[xvi]  Students in every popular major have to know some type of English in order to survive in their courses.  The University of Jordan tries hard to hold up to international models by holding student body elections (as a republication of western schools), holding special topic conferences, and by inviting new-foreign professors to guest teach at their university.  All of which is greatly encourages the use of the international language of English.
At the graduates level, even in Jordan, students are required to take an English Assessment Test such as the British ILETs or the American TOFEL test.[xvii]  Classes might be held in Arabic (formal or informal) but to even be accepted into a master’s program in Jordan, you are required to prove a certain proficiency in English.  The reasoning is at large discussed above—that all the latest international research is written in English, therefore, to become more advanced in any field, you need English to be able to understand the work of others.
Evolving Job Market
Overall, all of the reasoning above ultimately leads to the goal of Jordanians wanting to make themselves more marketable so that they can find a good job that pays well.  According to the Department of Statistics of Jordan, the current unemployment rate in Jordan is officially 12.8% but according to the US’s Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, the unofficial rate is approximately 30%.[xviii]  According to the newspaper The Jordan Times, a popular Jordanian newspaper published in English, half of the college graduates in Jordan will be jobless upon graduation at the end of 2012.[xix]  When so many graduated students are sitting at home for over a year after they graduate waiting to find a job, students, young adults, and even the employed do anything they can to make themselves as desirable as they can on the demanding job market.  English is part of what makes anyone more marketable here in Jordan.
Fridrik Tiedemann, an American who has been living in Jordan for around twelve years and has an organization that teaches soft skills to Jordanians, says, “Employers overwhelmingly want English” because “knowing English means that you have a higher level of functionality.”[xx]  Interviews in Jordan are conducted mostly in English and in order to get a pay raise in Jordan, many companies require for the employee to pass some type of English test. 
For lower level jobs, such as factory workers, there is no need for employees to know English but you will not find someone in any type of management that cannot speak English.[xxi]  Because Jordan is such a small country, it requires them to go outside of the country to get any type of raw materials.  “Even the brochures they send us from Turkey are in English.”  This requires English.  Many businesses in Jordan are international companies, whether they are just Jordanian companies that trade internationally or if they are companies that come from other countries.  To be a manager in any of these companies, you must know English.
Tourism is the largest industry in Jordan and for anyone who works in the immediate public, English is a requirement because of the high number of foreigners that they will be working with.[xxii]  As Jordan grows, much of its training in nearly every field requires to send their employees outside of the Arab World for training.  This requires English.  Even the Jordanian Army requires their lieutenants to train in America and Canada.[xxiii]  English is simply the international language of business and Jordan is too small of a country to not be interacting internationally to some capacity—therefore its job market is constantly demanding for its candidates to know English.  Employers want employees that will be able to function in any situation and who will be able to easily solve problems.  English enables employees to obtain more education and helps them to be able to manage through their responsibilities easier.[xxiv]  This makes better marketability in individuals on the Jordanian job market.
The saying goes in Jordan: “English is money.”[xxv]  Even if you have low-test scores in your field, you are more likely to get the job in Jordan if you know English.
The Affects of English in Jordan
As globalization continues to develop a deeper need for English, there are two major affects that it plays on the citizens of Jordan.  First, English has established a dividing line between the upper and lower class, which in part, gives some type of social prestige.  The second is that by being more exposed to Western media, the western culture is slowly creeping into the younger generation that causes strife between the new and old generation, as well as a strong desire for youth to want to escape from their culture.
In the richest communities in Jordan, a Westerner can feel quite at home.  One of the richest neighborhoods holds the majority of western embassies, including the American and British embassies.  In these neighborhoods, there are very few forms of public transportation like you would find in a poor neighborhood (such as private buses or shared taxis) and restaurants and other businesses commonly put their menus in only English.  In the malls everything will be written in English and all the companies are from the west.  As people walk by in the malls you can hear a combination of both Arabic and English spoken.
In Jordan, the wealthy like to flaunt their education and therefore money by using English, rather than Arabic, on a common basis.  Some Arab parents will even speak to their children in English instead of Arabic in daily lives.[xxvi]  Because this class of people has the finances to be educated in the best schools, their English is usually substantially better than the majority of Jordanians and by speaking English, they can in part show their class.  Overall, this creates a mindset in Jordan that English is a sign of esteem or prestige.[xxvii]  In an average job, a manager might value his English speaking employee more not only for their functionality, but also just for the sack of stature.[xxviii]  The idea is that English speakers are better equipped to interact with all classes of people: foreigners, upper class, and lower class.
With an external outlook, English opens many doors for people, not just education and occupational opportunities, but also to a different culture and a different lifestyle.[xxix]  Once a youth starts to learn English, they are then exposed to a completely different world of ideas and concepts.  Often times, these ideas and concepts romanticize the Western World for many Jordanians and make them start to detest parts of their own culture.  This causes many problems in the Jordanian community.
Whereas younger people are more exposed to western ideas via the Internet or media, the older generation is not.  The younger generation is clearly starting to evolve their way of thinking by mixing both Arab culture and western culture as their parents stay with their own traditional customs.[xxx]  This creates a clash when it comes to concepts such as love and marriage, work and family, and even religion.  The generational gap has been widened by this new exposure to the western world that English has.
Immigration becomes a huge aspiration for many students.  They attend western style education, they have international friends on Facebook, and as they look around to the small country with traditional customs that surround them, they desire to leave it.[xxxi]  The more they learn about western ideas and viewpoints they more they feel disconnected to the culture around them.  More and more students not only want to learn English to get a better job, but also just to escape the trap they feel like they are in.  English opens doors to a new culture and new-international opportunities ready for exploration. 
            Although Jordan is considered to be in low demand of English, its actual demand is growing but the amount of financial support limits its supply.  Jordanians desire to learn English for many reason including being able to better adjust to the changing world, opening the door for international education, and helping people get a job after graduation.  “Jordanians need to learn English to meet the challenge of the world” which face Jordanians in media, education, and employment.  Overall this is starting to change the way that Jordanians think and interact with the world.  Because of their exposure to western society, the younger generation is starting to become more western minded as the older generation stays with the traditions of their ancestors.  As Jordan tries to meet the demands of the world they are also changing themselves within.

[i] William Cleveland, and Martin Bunton, A History of the Modern Middle East, (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2009), 213.
[ii] Ibed, 331.
[iii] International TEFL Academy, "English Teaching in Jordan." Accessed May 3, 2013.
[iv] ESLBase, "ESLBase Teach English." Accessed April 29, 2013.
[v] Ulle Rannut, Minority Language Policy in the Middle East: Circassian Language Maintenance in Jordan, (Amman: The American Center of Oriental Research, 2007), 3.
[vi] Ibed, 13.
[vii] AlWan, Malik, (First Lieutenant, Jordanian Army), interview by Tasha Overpeck, Amman, May 5, 2013.
[viii] Tariq, Alia, (Recent Jordanian Graduate and English Student), interview by Tasha Overpeck, Amman, May 5, 2013.
[ix] Tiedemann, Fridrik, (Director, CGE Jordan), interview by Tasha Overpeck, Amman April 30, 2013.
[x] AlWan, Malik
[xi] AlWan, Malik; Tariq, Alia
[xii] AlWan, Malik
[xiii] Tariq, Alia
[xiv] Tiedemann, Fridrik
[xv] Tariq, Alia
[xvi] Ibed
[xvii] AlWan, Malik
[xviii] CIA, "The World Factbook." Last modified May 1, 2013. Accessed May 3, 2013.
[xix] Areej Abuqudairi, "Youth unemployment remains a major challenge for Jordan," The Jordan Times (2012), (accessed May 3, 2013).
[xx] Tiedemann, Fridrick
[xxi] Hajeer, Asad, (Notebook Factory Owner), interviewed by Tasha Overpeck, Amman, May 5, 2013
[xxii] Ibed
[xxiii] AlWan, Malik
[xxiv] Arabiyat, Eyad, (Senior Accountant at the Arab Bank in Salt), interview by Tasha Overpeck, Amman, May 4, 2013.
[xxv] Mousa, Mohammad, (Pharmaceutical Representative), interview by Tasha Overpeck, Amman, May 5, 2013.
[xxvi] Tariq, Alia
[xxvii] Tiedemann, Fridrik
[xxviii] Ayasah, Mohammad, (TOFEL student), interview by Tasha Overpeck, Amman, May 5, 2013.
[xxix] Tariq, Alia
[xxx] Ayasah, Mohammad
[xxxi] Ayasah, Mohammad