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With its commitment to rural, underserved communities, the Peace Corps is uniquely situated to address the development needs of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. While there are multiple international organizations contributing financial and human resources to Jordan, Peace Corps Volunteers are among the few who work at a local level for an extended period of service, able to adapt their efforts to what they observe and can develop with local stakeholders.
Since the first Volunteers arrived in 1997, at the invitation of the late King Hussein, nearly 300 have served in a number of fields. Support from the government continues to be strong in every aspect of cooperation.
King Abdullah and Queen Rania have placed youth and education at the center of the Kingdom's ambitious development goals. These priorities have shaped Peace Corps/Jordan's goals.
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Jordan
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is one of the more recent countries to invite the Peace Corps to provide technical assistance to its people. Peace Corps began in Jordan in 1997 as the result of discussions between the late King Hussein and former President Clinton. American-born Queen Noor and influential politicians familiar with the Peace Corps were instrumental in establishing this productive relationship.
Jordan is the eighth Arab country to have hosted the Peace Corps over the years, but the only one in the Middle East with a current program. Now, more than ever, Volunteers are essential in bridging gaps between, and dispelling myths about, our country and this region. Volunteers can foster peace through trusting relationships, mutual respect, and diligent contributions.
The first group of 27 Jordan Volunteers began their service in July 1997 in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development and several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) supported by the royal family. In 1998, Volunteers began working with the Ministry of Education, teaching English in rural primary and secondary schools. Our current youth development project got underway in 2001.
Due to security concerns, the Peace Corps suspended its program and withdrew Volunteers in November 2002. In 2004, however, Peace Corps/Jordan resumed programming, welcoming 25 English teachers, 10 special education Volunteers, and 15 youth development Volunteers for assigments at underserved schools and centers. In July 2005, 32 Volunteers in all three sectors arrived. Currently, there are about 60 Volunteers serving throughout the kingdom.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle
Main article: Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Jordan
After completing pre-service training, you will move to your actual work site for two years of service. Your host agency or school will have helped to identify acceptable housing within the local community. Your living accommodation is intended to be simple and comparable to your Jordanian neighbors. Most buildings in Jordan are concrete and not insulated. Your house/ apartment will likely have one or two rooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. The Peace Corps will provide a refrigerator, gas space heater, stove (no oven), and a small allowance for the purchase of essential household items. Washing machines, clothes dryers, air conditioners, and central heating are seldom found in either urban or rural areas and will not be featured in Volunteer housing, but you will have indoor plumbing, electricity, and hot water.
Volunteer accommodations must meet the Peace Corps’ health, safety, and security standards, yet be modest and typical of the area in which you work and live. You may have an apartment or a free-standing house, some part of which may be occupied by the owner’s family. You will also have the option to live with a host family that can enhance your cross-cultural experience.
You are expected to live in the village where you work. This is very important! Some of your Jordanian supervisors and co-workers may commute from the nearest town and be less involved in community life. However, as a Volunteer, you are more than an employee doing a job. You are considered a member of the community in which you work, and there is no better way to demonstrate this than by being visible and involved.
Other Volunteers will be within relatively close proximity due to Jordan’s small size and reliable transportation. You may have another Volunteer in the same village, or it may be a few hours by bus to the nearest Volunteer site. The Peace Corps office in Amman is no more than a four- or five-hour drive from the furthest Volunteer site (public buses may take longer).
Main article: Training in Jordan
Training is an essential part of your Peace Corps service. Pre-service training will provide you with the support, information, and opportunities to enable you to live and work effectively in Jordan. We will build upon the experiences and expertise you bring to the Peace Corps. It is important to approach training with an open mind, a desire to learn, and a willingness to become involved. Trainees officially become Peace Corps Volunteers after meeting the training competencies and requirements of pre-service training.
The 11-week training provides you the opportunity to learn new skills and practice them as they apply to Jordan. You will receive training and orientation in language, cross-cultural communication and adaptation, development issues, health and personal safety, and technical skills pertinent to your assignment. The skills you learn will serve as a foundation that you will build upon throughout your two years. You will experience local culture and customs on your own through your stay with a host family and the community-based training.
Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health care and safety in Jordan
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is ensuring the health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive rather than the curative approach to disease. Peace Corps/Jordan maintains a clinic with a full-time medical officer who manages Volunteer and trainee primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services are available at local American-standard hospitals through referral by the medical officer. If you become seriously ill, you may be treated in the capital, Amman, or transferred to the United States for additional testing and/or treatment.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Jordan
Television is common in Jordan and perceptions of Americans, unfortunately, come from the programs on the air. Common misperceptions are that all Americans are blond, blue-eyed, promiscuous, and rich. While many Jordanians are educated and familiar with foreign cultures, rural areas tend to be more traditional and may be less accepting of diversity. In Jordan (as in all Peace Corps countries), Volunteer behavior, religion, lifestyle, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics considered familiar and commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed elsewhere. Some of you may experience subtle discrimination, and a few, blatant bigotry. Jordanians are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you live may display a range of reactions to differences that you present.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Married Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
Frequently Asked Questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Jordan
- How much baggage am I allowed to bring to Jordan?
- What is the electric current in Jordan?
- How much money should I bring?
- When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
- Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
- Do I need an international driver’s license?
- What should I bring as gifts for Jordanian friends and my host family?
- Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
- How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
Main article: Packing list for Jordan
One of the most stressful tasks in preparing for Peace Corpsservice is deciding what to pack and what to leave behind. Generally, packing involves a gradual whittling process as more and more items shift from the “Necessities” pile to the “If There’s Room...” pile. The following list has been compiled by Volunteers currently serving in Jordan, based on their experience. There is no perfect list! Please use it as a guide, bearing in mind that experience is individual and tastes differ. Do not try to bring everything on this list; consider only those items that make sense to you personally. Peace Corps will not reimburse you for overweight baggage. Remember, you can get everything you will really need, and most of what you will really want, here in Jordan.
- General Clothing
- Both men and women
- Suggestions for Women
- Exercise Clothing
- Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
Peace Corps News
- Graduate students host panel to celebrate Peace Corps Week - BG News (Feb 26)
- Peace Corps ranks Vermont colleges - Rutland Herald (Feb 12)
- Penn State ranks among top Peace Corps-producing universities - Centre Daily Times (Feb 11)
- Jordan Blekking column: Zambian public transportation leaves much to be desired - Battle Creek Enquirer (Feb 07)
PEACE CORPS JOURNALS
( As of Friday March 7, 2014 )
Contributions to the Jordan Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Jordan. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Jordan
- Friends of Jordan
- List of resources for Jordan
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- Inspector General Reports