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Marhaba! Greetings from My Gap Year in Jordan

Turning down the second dirt road on the left, I listened to the slow roll of the car over mountain gravel and watched the land­scape unfold before me, feeling with every subsequent turn that we were driving over the edge of the Earth.

Jordan is a palimpsest: memories of an­cient times seep through the layers of his­tory, melting into the modern era. Exploring the ruins of the Roman capital city Jerash, scrambling up the stone steps of the Ampi­theater in downtown Amman, and wander­ing through the well-worn stalls of veg­etables and spices in the souq are powerful testaments to the cultures and traditions of the people who have come before us. My internship at King’s Academy as a ju­nior fellow follows a similar pattern. Days are spent in the Academic Support Center helping students to develop skills in time-management, note-taking, test-taking, and general organization, in order to help them discover their best learning styles. But when the class bell rings for the end of the day and I head off to assistant coach, act as a table head during sit-down meals, or offer home­work help in the dorm, my understanding of this school only deepens.

However, what I love most about Jordan is being able to appreciate the small plea­sures of life while also feeling like a part of the larger picture. During Ramadan, we abstained from eating or drinking in public out of respect for those fasting, and each evening we all celebrated the end of the day together, partaking in the traditional iftar meal after sunset. Sometimes a dinner will last several hours, spanning all kinds of conversations spoken in both Arabic and English, serving as opportunities that have already allowed me to form new and meaningful friendships.

When the entire school gathered last weekend during orientation for the KA Jam, students and faculty sang, danced, acted, and competed against the junior fellows in a “Chubby Bunny” marshmal­low-eating contest. The energy of the KA Jam was yet another reminder of why I have chosen to spend my year here. I felt drawn to King’s because of its new­ness as a school, and I love the idea that students, fellows, and teachers alike ma­ture and develop personally as the schoolgrows and cultivates its own traditions. Watching events like the KA Jam play out successfully makes me proud to participate in that process.

Jordan has whet my appetite for travel, adventure, and learning more so than ever. I am excited that the year is just beginning: I have no doubts that the coming months will be equally as rewarding and surprising as this past one has been. The possibilities of what this school can achieve seem to stretch on towards the horizon just as the landscape around it does. So, too, do the opportunities in front of you: take advantage of the wonders that our world has to offer. They’re only waiting to be discovered.

*Contact kcorcoran@kingsacademy.edu.jo.

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