University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Center for
Middle East Studies & Partnerships

Arab Script

A road to

greater understanding

Mastering Jabal Amman

UWGB students mastering Jabal Amman, downtown Amman, Jordan

Jordan 14 students traveled to Jordan this past summer with Prof. Heidi Sherman and Prof. Jill White to learn about history, culture, and human development. As part of their coursework, they took part in an immersive adventure planned by the social entrepreneur, Raghda Butros at Hamzet Wasel. As Raghda explains on their website, "Hamzet Wasel works for social inclusion... We are dedicated to finding innovative ways for our partners to reach out effectively and positively to members of the communities and cities where they operate, and by doing so, to enhance their business or social offering. It has never been more crucial in the Arab world to reach out beyond our comfort zones, to connect with one another across socio-economic borders, and to revive and enrich the social and cultural fabric of our communities."

For our UWGB students, Hamzet Wazel designed an "Amazing Race" style hunt that had teams competing to buy objects that start with "F", make and sell juice to passers-by, find landmarks, and make and fly kites with child-experts, all in a section of downtown that many native Ammanis don't know well. In addition to learning about the history of the market and the neighborhood, participants also learned more about Jordanian hospitality and willingness to help. Said one student, "I can now understand what it is like every day for immigrants in another country. I felt overwhelmed being lost just for a few short hours; I cannot even imagine what it would be like to have that be a daily ritual. One experience cannot put me in the same shoes as immigrants, but I now realize how difficult it can be for them and I have developed a new respect for them."

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