People to People

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“A OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAjourney is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” It’s a saying that most people have10291287_10101420238393082_2114790420673539423_n stumbled across multiple times in their lives. It’s probably been a Facebook status, a tweet, a pin on Pinterest, or a post on Tumblr. I always thought it referred to those who you traveled with, who are in all of the pictures with you. I still believe in that, don’t get me wrong, because there is no stronger bond than traveling the world together. However, what I have discovered through my last study abroad in Jordan, is that it’s not necessarily the people you were with that makes the difference, it’s the people you meet while there.

As a Political Science major, I mostly hear only about bad things that are happening; the powerful people ruining lives of the poor, corruption, terrorism. What most politics classes don’t teach you is that most people aren’t focused on those issues. It’s not that they’re not important, it’s more that there are more important things to focus on, the good things to think about. I learned that the things people do and say are the best way to get to know a place, not their politics, and I learned that people are mostly the same wherever we are or are from.

While in Jordan, I met university students, high school students, and was welcomed into the homes of families. The families we visited were just like any other families in the world- theOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAy laughed together, teased each other, and love to show baby pictures to embarrass each other. The friends we met at the university there were just like any college kids in the United States. They hung out over dinner, stressed about finals, sometimes blew off studying for finals, and liked to have a good time. While in Amman, I watched the European Champions League football [soccer] game at a sports bar-type restaurant; I couldn’t speak the same language as anyone else there outside of the group I was with, but I was sure able to cheer on my team and tease the losing fans with everyone! It showed me that simple things can bring people together10429319_10152037514346148_8512680701429989117_n even though there is a Grand-Canyon sized gap in cultural differences – food, sports, laughter, love, school. We have way more in common with people than we have differences and I think we lose sight of that sometimes, especially in the states.

For me, the fact that we are all human and we all have the same wants, desires, passions, and needs is the biggest takeaway from the trip, and the thing that will help me the most in my career in the future. For a politics major, and especially for one interested in an international governmental position, it’s important to remember that we’re all human and are good at heart. The people in Jordan were Muslim, yet allowed me, urged me more, a Christian woman, into their holiest of sanctuaries. I was allowed into a woman’s kitchen to cook a meal for my friends and her family. I was welcomed into a group of previously established friends and encouraged to take part in their hang-outs. WOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAill I remember the one bad occurrence I might have had? No. Will I remember the helpfulness and friendliness I was shown wherever I went throughout an entire country? Absolutely.

— Amanda Paulson |  Auburn Abroad in Jordan, Summer 201410417694_10101439586150022_889893216302200834_n


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