By Michael Hinckley, eHow Contributor
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Arabic is one of the most critical languages to learn in the twenty-first century, and there is no better way to study it than in a country whose official language is Arabic.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Understand Jordan. The country is bordered by Israel and the Palestinian territories on the west, Syria to the north, Iraq to the east and Saudi Arabia to the southeast and south. Jordan also shares the Gulf of Aqaba with Israel and Egypt; this gulf is Jordan's only access to ocean trade. The Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan was formed in the wake of World War I and has been ruled by the same family ever since. The kingdom, now called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan--or more simply Jordan--has long been a close ally of the United States in the Middle East, and its ruler, King Abdullah, is considered a stable, moderate ruler. Jordan is a Muslim country, mostly Sunni, with a small Christian minority. Jordan's education system is excellent and many middle- and upper-class citizens speak English with some degree of fluency.
Decide on a university, which can be challenging because there are literally dozens of universities--both Jordanian and foreign--that operate throughout Jordan. Most of these universities are located in or near Jordan's capital, Amman, and offer state-of-the-art facilities. The University of Jordan (see Resources below) is a progressive public school with online registration and a strong academic record. The university's Language Center offers Arabic classes for students of every level. Al Ahliyya Amman University (see Resources) is a private university located in Amman and is one of the newer universities in Jordan. It is also the only private university in Jordan.
Choose an American university in Jordan as another possibility. Philadelphia University (see Resources) operates a branch campus in Jordan with a range of degree options as well as a good Arabic language program. An advantage of choosing an American-based university is the increased access to loans and grants via the federal government that are either not available or harder to come by at Jordanian-based universities. That being said, a strong student with good grades will find financial aid packages at all universities.
Visit the Jordanian Embassy's website. As a citizen of the United States (or of Western Europe), you should go through the Jordanian Embassy's consular services page (see Resources) and fill out the form for your visa as soon as possible. Visa fees are about $16, and visas are valid for 6 months from time of entry. You must submit a passport-quality photo with the application for security reasons. As soon as you receive your letter of acceptance from the university, you should file for your visa since bureaucratic delays or other problems make waiting until the last minute a potential disaster.
Arrange your finances. Jordanian banks are stable and respectable, but American banks offer familiarity and allow your family (or friends) to deposit money directly into your account at branches near them. Set up an account with a large bank, such as Bank of America or Chase, since these banks are partnered with other banks, such as Barclay's, to offer no-fee reliable ATMs throughout Jordan. It is also recommended that you set up direct deposit of your financial aid if possible, as the lag time between receiving your checks, depositing them in Jordan (or in the United States) and having access to the funds may take several days at least.
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Tips & Warnings
Though Jordan is one of the Middle East's most stable countries, as well as a staunch ally of the United States, there is some risk involved in traveling to certain border regions. Caution should be exercised when traveling to towns or areas near the Iraqi border.
Whenever traveling overseas, always consult the United States Department of State's website for travel advisories.
Read more: How to Study Arabic in Jordan | eHow.com