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History and Faith in Amman and Jerusalem


Amman, Jordan and Jerusalem, Israel

Program Description

Students will complete six credits of course work by enrolling in two of the offered 3-credit courses. This will be done during an intensive 4 week session in which students will spend 5 classroom hours per day meeting four days per week. Part of the course work may be completed online before and/or after the start of the program.

There are numerous attractions in Amman, including shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs. A number of cities and towns are all within a short travel distance. All locations are accessible via the extensive public and private transportation systems (buses and taxis).

During the program, students will visit historical, cultural, and religious sites of the city and the country, and can enjoy the culinary tradition of the region in general and Jordan in particular. The program includes a three day trip to Petra and Wadi Rum, an overnight stay in Aqaba, and a four day trip to Jerusalem, Haifa, and Acre.

Location Description

This four week program will be based in the city of Amman, the capital and largest city of Jordan and one of the fastest growing Arab cities economically. The city is located in north-west Jordan and it is the chief financial, political, and cultural center of the country. It is also one of the principal commercial and transportation centers of the region as well as one of the Arab world's major cultural capitals. The Greater Amman area has an estimated population of almost 3 million people.

Amman has a settlement history stretching back thousands of years and the city is referred to in the Bible. It was the capital of the Ammonites in the 13th century BC, while during the Greco-Roman period, Amman was part of the Decapolis (a Hellenistic league of ten cities). However, the city is essentially a product of the modern period and has been growing rapidly from the middle of the 20th century to the present.

Jordan occupies an area rich in archaeological remains and religious traditions dating back thousands of years. Throughout the program students will visit a number of historical, religious, and natural locations in and outside of Amman. The ancient biblical kingdoms of Moab, Gilead, and Edom lie within the borders of Jordan, as does the famed red stone city of Petra, the capital of the Nabatean kingdom and of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea. Other sites include the Roman city of Jarash/Gerasa and the Crusader time castles of ‘Ajlun and al-Karak. A number of locations in Jordan have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as Petra, Quseir Amra, and the Wadi Rum Protected Area. All of these sites will be visited during the program.

Another location which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and which will be the target of a three-day trip is the Old City in Jerusalem which is believed to have been continuously inhabited for almost 5,000 years. The holy city of Jerusalem is revered by the three major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Despite a rapidly changing demography, Jerusalem has retained a diverse and cosmopolitan character, particularly in the walled Old City with its Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim quarters. However, outside the walls, Jerusalem is in every sense a modern city. The multicultural reality of the city is highlighted by the constant mingling of Hebrew, Arabic, English, and other languages in the streets.

The program also includes a visit to the city of Acre and an overnight stay in the city of Haifa. Both cities contain sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Old City of Acre is a walled port city which has been inhabited continuously since the Phoenician period. The Crusader town is almost intact, while buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries are a testament to late Ottoman architecture. Additionally, in Acre and Haifa are found the two most holy places of the Baha'i faith: the Shrine of Baha'ullah in Acre and the Shrine of the Bab in Haifa.


Aram Shahin | | Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


Students will be residing in furnished apartments with internet access and full kitchen and laundry facilities. Public transportation is easily accessible from the apartments. During overnight excursions, students will stay at hotels or furnished apartments.

Students will be allocated a weekly meal stipend that will cover all meals. Some group meals will be provided as a part of the program.

Additional Items to Consider

- Visas for US citizens can be obtained at the airport in Jordan and at the border crossing into Israel. Citizens of other countries should check with the director or with the websites of the Jordanian and Israeli embassies in the US.

- Internet access is available in all apartments. The apartments are furnished and have kitchens and laundry facilities.

- All meals are provided by the program.

- The cost of all group excursions is also covered by the program.

- There will be additional short visits, covered by the program as well, e.g., to locations within the greater Amman metropolitan area, three Umayyad desert castles, the Crusader castle of al-Karak, and various historical and religious sites in Jerusalem.

- Cell phones or telephone cards may be purchased in Jordan.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU and first semester transfer students.

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

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Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


HUM 252: Cross-Cultural Perspectives: Greater Syria - 2,000 Years of History and Culture (3 credits)

ARAB 446: Special Topics in Arabic Literature: Bil¿d al-Sh¿m (Greater Syria): 2,000 Years of History and Culture (3 credits)

ARAB 448: Special Topics in Arabic Linguistics: Conversational Levantine Arabic (3 credits)

ARAB 490: Special Studies in Arabic: Beginner Arabic Conversation (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.