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Ya hala’ shabab!

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Ya hala’ shabaab! (Hey guys – Jordanian)

My name is Elley and I will be one of your instructors on the trip. I know we’re a few months out from departure date, but I wanted to introduce myself on our Yak Board and make sure you have my contact info if you need to get in touch! [email protected]

I can’t wait to greet you all at the airport in March when you arrive! A little about me: I studied Arabic at Tufts and once I graduated I moved to the Middle East and lived there for three years. I spent the first year in Egypt studying Arabic intensively, which also happened to be during the Egyptian revolution. I can’t wait to share some stories with you all. I later spent two years in Jordan working for Middlebury’s study abroad program in Amman. I was also involved in many different NGO’s volunteering and arranging internships for students. This is going to be my fifth course with Dragons, and my second time leading the Milton group. Now that I live in the US, I will jump at any opportunity to get back to the region, especially if I can take a group of students with me for the journey!

I now live in Portland working as community school liaison. I get to use my Arabic and cultural knowledge to help Arabic-speaking families at my school and interact with kids every day. I also do some tutoring and medical interpreting on the side – any way I can use my skills to help immigrants and refugees here.

Jordan is beautiful, fascinating, diverse, and deeply complex. I can’t wait for you to see the rugged desert landscapes of Wadi Rum, the wildflowers of the north, and the purples and reds of a Dead Sea sunset. More importantly, though, I want to introduce you to the wonderful people that make up Jordan.

The term “Jordanian” no longer means just someone whose roots in Jordan go back generations. It now encompasses Palestinians, Iraqis, Egyptians, Syrians, and expats from all over the world, not to mention the Circassian, Chechen, and Christian minorities that have lived in the region for centuries now. And regardless of heritage, the vast majority of people are welcoming, thoughtful, and deeply caring individuals.

We will be posting more information for you as we get closer to spring, but for now know that I am available via email if you have any questions. Tips about packing and preparation will be posted in a month or two! Can’t wait!