As every year IFMSA organisation provides for a lot of medical students summer internships in foreign countries. I was thinking about this opportunity a long time and from other students I heard very good reviews so I decided to be part of this adventure and I joined the english test which was prepared for us this year. According to a number of points I could choose from a few places. One of them was Jordan. I couldn’t say how surprised I was when one of the most interesting countries was left for me. I was always interested in Middle East, their culture, architecture, food and a way of their life.
I flew to Jordan with company named Royal Jordanian, which is the best. I paid about 530 € for ticket from Vienna to Amman and back.
Jordan was a good choice, I knew that since the day of my arrival. I was pleased with warm temperature as I love summer and hot weather. I was literally breathing in the atmosphere that came after I got off the plane. At the airport, first thing I did was buying a visa, it cost 40 JD (1JD=1,25€). You need also to be prepared for some questions like where you will live during this month and what you will do. The best solution is to show them your invitation letter. After that, I met with my contact person. He kindly introduced everything to me and drove me to the appartment, where my roommates were already waiting to show me around.
The appartment, where we lived was very very big and well equipped. There were 4 rooms, 4 bathrooms, a spacious kitchen, 2 living rooms with a dining room in the middle. A balcony with a nice view wasn’t missing either. There we could drink our morning turkish coffee or just have a talk. It was simply perfectly designed. Our friends were living upstairs, with a roof access for making barbecue sessions. In Jordan, they don’t recommend drinking tap water, so we had one big 15 l tank that we shared. They usually provided the water for us but sometimes you had to buy it for yourself, especially when the big trips were planned.
I shared the room with a very nice German girl and after time we became good friends. We worked in the same hospital – Specialty hospital. The hospital was just 20 minutes away from our appartment, so we walked every morning. It saved us a lot of money for a taxi since public transport is not popular in Jordan. I was assigned to a general surgery department.
Every morning we had a presentation about surgical topics and sometimes they invited us for a breakfast or lunch afterwards. Every day I shadowed a doctor on morning visits or I could choose to be all day in surgery rooms. The last couple of weeks of my programme I chose to spend more time in surgeries than rotations. I have met a lot of nice people there. The doctors were really willing to explain and answer all our questions during the operations too. When we were hungry we could leave for some free sandwiches with dukkah <3(special Eggyptian spice) and black tea. After a short time I felt like a part of the team, and I learned more than I thought I could. I met people that I keep in touch with. I also really mastered skills from anesthesia under a guidance of an excellent doctor-teacher-freind .
The exchange programme in Jordan was not only about spending time in hospital. It was more fun than I can decribe in words. From hiking and climbing to relaxing and chilling on the beach.
Hiking trips – Wadi Aya & Wadi Mujib
Wadi Aya – this resort I called „Mars“, cause it looked like on Mars. It was a destination where you should really not bring your pretty clothes or shoes, because you would end up in the water! Jumping from more than 15m was a thing for me! It was a lot of fun and we had a nice lunch after that.
Wadi Mujib – It was not part of the social program but this place I definitely wanted to visit. Adventure, beautiful nature, waterfalls, fun, also danger (sometimes pooled down by the water I and also we lost some shoes) are things that are waiting for you in Wadi Mujib. Don’t forget you need to be in a group with a guide.
3 days‘ trip – Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba
Petra was an amazing place, one of the 7 wonders in the world, full of archeological beauty. I tried to ride a camel and if you wanted you could also ride a cute donkey.
With our bus we got into the magical desert named Wadi Rum. There we just took a ride on jeeps to a camp. We saw a beautiful sunset, you can just dream of, we had a party and tea in the middle of the desert with a fire. It was very nice.
From camping to nice private beach – the second day we took a bus to the beach in Aqaba, just relaxing, beach voleyball, pools, the sea. We felt like on a holiday. In the evening we went to a restaurant and had a moment to see the town. The next day we had an amazing time on a boat. I learned how to dive and it was not that easy as it looked. 🙂
Jerash – I remember Jerash very well as it was a trip after the evening party and everybody was very sleepy and I remember that it was hot as hell that day. Btw it was beautiful place, we saw ruins of the Greek-Roman city of Gerasa, you can’t see things like that anywhere, and it’s very hard to describe that beauty cause you must see it and feel it.
Dead sea – O’beach – one of the best trips in Jordan I think.The beach looked very fancy. Dead sea, which is actually a lake, is earth’s lowest elevation on land. It contains a lot of minerals, good for healthsystem and total salinity is around 276 g/kg. I expected everything from the Dead sea but elevating in the water. It was a great experience. Stones, pier, everything was covered by salt. We spread some mud on our body and we felt after like newborns.
Downtown, Rainbowstreet – After working day in hospital or during free days we visited rainbowstreet. It’s place with a lot of small shops, boutiques, food stores, restaurants, something like „Obchodná street“ in Bratislava, but so much bigger. I liked walking through rainbowstreet, cause every time I found something interesting, no matter how many times I was there, it was unique for me, full of people that I just enjoyed to observe, how they are spending their time, how they live, how they spent time with friends, families. Also markets in Dowtown were very interesting for me.
Food & drinking party – you keep on your mind, before you attend this party you need to have
- a) HUNGER
- b) FOOD typical for your country
- c) typical alcoholic drink from your country – althought we „couldn’t“ bring it to the party
- d) GOOD mood – cause you will have lot of fun there with friends
The party was in a place that GPS couldn’t find but it doesn’t matter cause we had a lot of fun there. We had a pool there and our own DJ.
As for a social program, we also visited a lot of museums, churches and a mosques. I learned a lot about the culture, the people and their religion. All you need to know about Jordanian people is that they are really nice (everyone except taxi drivers). But sometimes you found fun with them, especially when we were 6 people in the taxi and the driver was on tellphone or talking to people in other taxi. People in town are not used to see tourists very often, or I don’t know if it was just in my case…everyone was staring and shouting at us GIRLS. I think it’s more than clear, you should not wear shorts, short skirts, tank tops, or sexy chick dress like you are used to in Slovakia. Of course if you really want, you can, but they will think very inappropriate things about you. Boys here had it simply much easier.
Food & drink & lifestyle – it’s obvious Jordanian people love RICE since almost every food was served with rice. The typical food was MANSAF – lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served with rice or bulgur. And I can’t forget one of my favorites – sweet delicacy Kanafeh – cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup. Unfortunately, I found heaven at the end of my exchange program, the shop full of sweet treats like baklava. You need to search there for them, you will never forget that taste!
Lot of people can’t drink alcohol, or they just simply don’t want to because of culture,you don’t find alcohol in normal shops so if anyone wanted to get drunk in Jordan they would pay a lot for that in liquid stores. On the other side, jordanian are smokers, literally they leave more smoke behind than a coal factory!
My experiences –
Travelling in general it’s very enriching experience. There is a very good quote for this by F. Scott Fitzgerald „…when you come home everything is the same, but still you realize that something changed, it’s you…“. People that you met influent you in some way. But that’s another capter. My english language developed a higher level, I feel more comfortable with myself now (cause I was always a shy person, hah).
*I found friends here, really good friends for life and death. My biggest surprise was on the last day cause it was my birthday and my friend ordered a birthday cake for me, we were celebrating and singing, crying, but also dancing and having fun!
*I realised lot of differences between our cultures, not just between Jordanian and Slovakian, but also between people from other countries as well.
I learned something about how people you know can surprise you. In a good way and in bad way too. All you need is just to believe in happy endings, be positive and try to solve problems with good intentions. My end was very happy, and what will be yours?