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Frequently Asked Questions

Application & Admission*

Can I apply if I’m residing outside of the United States?
Yes, provided that all parts of the application (including the fee and transcripts) are received by the UVa International Studies Office by the application deadline.  You must alsoreturn to the USA prior to the Program to attend an orientation session and travel with the group.

What factors play in admission?
Many factors play a role: overall grades, grades in Arabic language courses,  a commitment to the study of the language and program goals, the level of applicant (graduate/undergraduate), letters of reference, level of Arabic at time of application are some examples.

If I apply and I don’t get admitted into the Program, can I get reasons for my rejection?
No.  The Selection Committee deliberations and notes are not given out.

If I’m put on the waiting list for admission, when will I be notified of a possible slot?
It is hard to tell.  It all depends on your rank in the waiting list and who withdraws of those admitted to vacate a slot.  If you are an alternate, you will be notified immediately of any change in your status.

*once you are ready to apply please see the Application Guidelines before submitting your application.

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Academics

Are there different skill levels?
The Program is comprised of three different skill levels in the study of Modern Standard Arabic:  Lower Intermediate, Upper Intermediate and Advanced Modern Standard Arabic.  Lower Intermediate is the equivalent of the second full academic year of Arabic at an accredited US college or university; Upper Intermediate is the equivalent of a third year of Arabic; and Advanced is the equivalent of a fourth year.  To be eligible for the Program, and in order to enroll in the lowest level, a student must have completed at least one full academic year, i.e. two semesters, of Modern Standard Arabic.   The Program also offers a one-hour course for all students in Jordanian Colloquial Arabic for all levels, which is taught during the first half of the summer session.

Will the credits transfer?    
Most universities accept transfer credit for courses completed at accredited universities.  To transfer credit hours from the UVA-Yarmouk University Summer Arabic Program, applicants are strongly advised to check with the office responsible for study abroad programs at their university. Participants will receive transcripts from Yarmouk University at the completion of the program.

How do I request a transcript of my participation in the Program?
A letter bearing the participant’s signature and year(s) of participation must be sent to the International Studies Office at UVA to request the obtainment of transcripts.

How many credits can I take?
The number of credits obtained depends on the level a student is enrolled in:  Lower Intermediate, 9 credits; Upper Intermediate, 7 credits; Advanced, 8 credits.

Can I audit classes or take the courses for non-credit?
All classes must be taken for credit – auditing is not allowed.

Can I take courses at Yarmouk University in addition to my Arabic courses?
Due to program scheduling and extended hours of instruction, participants will not be able to combine the Arabic language courses and content courses at Yarmouk University.  Various extra-curricular clubs are available to students during the Program, however.

How long is the program?
The specific dates of the Program vary slightly each year.  However, the Program runs for two months, beginning around mid-June and ending roughly in mid-August.

What level of proficiency will I achieve after one summer session?
Each level is the equivalent of one full academic year, i.e. two semesters of study of Modern Standard Arabic at an accredited US college or university.  Proficiency levels vary depending on which level a student is enrolled in, in addition to the student's own dedication to learning.  

Are there certain rules or academic restrictions?
The UVA-Yarmouk Summer Arabic Program maintains a very strict attendance policy, which requires students to attend all classes, illness being the only exception.  Students must sign this policy at the beginning of the Program and abide by it at all times. Students are also expected to follow the UVa Honor Code.

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Living Conditions

What are the residences like?
The apartments in which students reside are comfortable and spacious.  Each apartment is comprised of a large living/dining room, one bedroom with two single beds, a kitchen, and a bathroom.  The living/dining rooms are furnished with chairs, a couch, TV, telephone, desk, and dining table.  The kitchen includes a large sink, many cabinets with silverware, pots and pans, a stove/oven, and a refrigerator/freezer unit.  The bathroom has a shower, as well as a large sink, mirror and washing machine.  In past years students have been extremely satisfied with the size, comfort, and convenience of the apartments.

See housing facilities Pictures.

Can I bring my child/spouse/partner?
No.  There are no facilities at Yarmouk University to accommodate spouses, partners, or children.

Can I live off-campus?
Living off-campus is not allowed.  All students are housed in apartments at Yarmouk University.

Are single rooms available?
No.  All students are separated by gender and paired with a roommate.  Students can choose their roommate prior to arrival in Irbid, Jordan.

What kind of food is served? Are special diets accommodated?
There are no specific food services provided by the Program.  Students are free to eat at restaurants or make their own food.  Restaurants in Irbid are cheap in comparison to American restaurants; purchasing food and making use of the kitchen is also very cheap.  Students with special needs can go to one of the many grocery stores and purchase special items that they may need.

What is the average age of the students, and what type of student attends the Yarmouk Program?
Over the years students have ranged from the ages of 18 to 50, but the average age is around 21.  Students who attend the Program tend to be undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in Middle Eastern Studies, Arabic language or linguistics, and other degrees related to the Middle East.  Of course, this does not mean that one pursuing a path of study not related to the Middle East will not be considered for admission into the Program.
 
What is appropriate attire?
Recommended attire for women is a long dress, pants or jeans, with a blouse or shirt that extends to the elbows.  Attire common in America and Europe that shows off the waist, cleavage, or the back is not appropriate.  For men, appropriate attire consists of pants or jeans, and a shirt extending to the elbows.  Although shorts are becoming more common among males in Irbid, this phenomenon is mostly seen among children and teenagers, and is therefore not recommended for our students.

What is the weather like?
The weather in Jordan varies in the summer months, but in general it is very dry and arid, with afternoon highs consistently in the low 90’s (Fahrenheit).  Evenings are often extremely temperate and sometimes even cool, with the Mediterranean breeze reaching all the way to Irbid.  There can be heat waves during the summer that raise daily temperatures in the 100’s; and during these heat waves the evening temperatures may be higher than normal.

What is the best way to bring money to Jordan? On an ATM card, in traveler's checks, a certain amount of cash, etc.?
ATM cards are the best option.  This method is more practical in Amman than Irbid, but the banking scene in Irbid is also changing rapidly.  Bring some money in the form of cash and travelers’ checks as well.  You will get a bit less for the latter than cash, but travelers’ checks do offer a degree of safety.

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Financial Aid

How much does the Program cost?
The Program cost for summer 2013 is $4,995.00 for in-state Virginia students and $5,579.00 for out-of-state students*.  For a more detailed breakdown, please consult the Program Information.



Is financial aid offered? What kind of financial aid is offered?

UVA in Jordan has a limited number of USDE Fulbright-Hays fellowships for qualified students who have completed two or more years of college-level Arabic. The fellowships are competitive and information from the students’ program application will be used to decide fellowship awards.

Applicants are encouraged to investigate financial aid possibilities at their home institutions such as FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) as well as others.

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Health Issues*


What kind of health facilities and hospitals are available?
Students can use the Yarmouk University student health center for minor health concerns.  If larger problems arise, there are four hospitals in the immediate vicinity, as well as medical specialists with private clinics scattered throughout Irbid.

Is tap water fine for drinking?
We recommend that participants drink bottled water, which is cheap and easy to obtain.  In the past, some participants have consumed tap water, as local residents do drink the tap water. In the past few years, private purifying companies have been founded, and participants can buy water containers larger than bottles, which reduces the cost of water.

* Please also visit the Center for Disease Control's Travelers' Health: Jordan for a complete overview of potential (although unlikely) health concerns.   

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University Facilities

Are recreational facilities available?
Students have access during the weekdays to Yarmouk University’s track, soccer field, tennis courts, and gymnasium, which contains a basketball court and a volleyball court.  Students also have access to the University swimming pool, but the days are restricted and separated by gender.  Males have access twice a week and women access on two other days.  If students desire the use of other facilities, they can purchase memberships at other gyms or recreational facilities in Irbid.

Are banks and post offices available?
There are many banks in Irbid, as well as many independent facilities for money and traveler’s check exchange.  There is a branch of the Cairo-Amman Bank conveniently located inside the campus of Yarmouk University.  A branch of Western Union is affiliated with the Cairo-Amman Bank, so direct transfer of money within 24 hours is available.  The main Post Office in Irbid is located in the downtown area of the city, which is a five-minute cab ride.  Most mailing or shipping, however, can be handled through the branch of the post office located inside the Yarmouk University campus.

Are their library facilities to borrow books and study?
Yarmouk University recently built a new library, opened in the fall of 2002.  This library is considered the most comprehensive and modern library in Jordan, and will be a great place for studying and borrowing books in both Arabic and English.

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Traveling

If I have frequent flyer miles, can I use them to travel on my own to join the Program?
Program participants travel as a group.  The Program makes the group travel arrangements.  You may face difficulty obtaining a ticket with frequent flyer miles to coincide with the dates of the Program travel, so you are advised to use your frequent flyer miles for other travel purposes.

Can I be allowed to participate if I’m already residing in a Middle Eastern country at the time the Program starts?
No, you cannot.  All participants MUST attend the orientation session in New York, and MUST travel with the group.

Can I arrange my own flights to and from Jordan?
While you are free to extend your stay or change your final destination at the conclusion of the Program, all participants must attend an orientation session in New York and travel as a group to Irbid.

Why is group travel a requirement?
The group travel arrangements are a requirement of the Program for a number of reasons.  First, all participants must attend the mandatory orientation session in New York prior to departure for Jordan.  This meeting is essential; it is a time for administrators to meet with and speak to students about daily life in Jordan, an opportunity for an informative question and answer session, and a chance for students to mingle with each other and choose roommates for the summer.

Second, group travel is essential for logistical reasons. We cannot afford for participants to arrive individually and at different times in the airport in Amman because of their varying points of departure.  Traveling as a group ensures arriving as a group and simplifies an already complicated travel process.

Third, group travel enables us to make airline travel arrangements by certain Program deadlines, and therefore removes the uncertainties of individual participants waiting too long to purchase tickets or not securing the funding to do so before scheduling deadlines.

Is traveling an option on weekends?
Traveling is encouraged on free weekends, but all traveling must be done within the appropriate times.  Students are free to leave after classes on Thursday (the last weekday of class in the Yarmouk schedule) and are required to return by 11PM on Saturday evenings (as Sunday is the beginning of the academic week).  In past years, students who traveled on weekends usually did so in Jordan itself.  Participants can also travel during the mid-semester break, or at the end of the Program.

Does the Program sponsor any trips?
Yes, the Program sponsors two mandatory educational trips.  The Program provides bus and room expenses, but students must purchase their own food.  The first trip is usually held on the second weekend of the Program, and consists of a one day outing to three major historical sites in Northern Jordan: Um Quais, Ajloun, and Jerash.  The second trip falls close to the mid point of the Program and is a full weekend trip to Petra and the southern port city of Aqaba.  This trip includes two overnight stays in comfortable hotels, one in Petra and one in Aqaba.  

What are the best times and destinations for extended travel?
The best times for extended trips are during the four-day break, which always falls close to the mid-point of the Program, around mid-July.  This is a time when many students choose to travel within Jordan or to neighboring countries.  The best opportunity for extended regional travel would be after the Program ends.  The decision to extend one’s stay in Jordan in order to do extra traveling must be made by late April, when the Program airline tickets are usually reserved.  Extended dates entail extra charges to the airlines.  Students will have to make such arrangements with the Program travel agent.

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Other Queries

Who can I contact with additional questions?
For further information, please consult the Program web page before making Program inquiries.  It contains a wealth of general information and is a good starting point for answers to your questions.

Questions regarding the application process should be directed to the International Studies Office.

Or contact:

UVA in Jordan Program

University of Virginia

International Studies Office

208 Minor Hall

P.O. Box 400165

Charlottesville, Va 22904-4165

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2014 University of Virginia Arabic Program