Your adventures in Jordan will offer you invaluable experiences and new perspectives on the world we live in. Arriving in a new country is typically thought of as being a beautiful mixture of excitement, terror and joy. You will be disoriented. You may be jet lagged. You will not be at home. You may feel more tired than you are used to. This is all normal! It’s normal for moods to shift when cultures shift. And it’s normal for everyone to experience the shifts in his or her own way.

Emotional health is an important part of your overall health. People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They’re able to cope with life’s challenges. They can keep problems in perspective and bounce back from setbacks. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships.

Being emotionally healthy doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time. It means you’re aware of your emotions. You can deal with them, whether they’re positive or negative. Emotionally healthy people still feel stress, anger, and sadness. But they know how to manage their negative feelings. They can tell when a problem is more than they can handle on their own. They also know when to seek help.

It makes much sense to prepare a bit before you come to Amman. Take a few minutes to look at the following materials and thoughts that will help you develop emotional resilience:

  • Acquaint yourself with the “Emotional Passport”, an overarching and collaborative mind set and skill set in which each of us learns to recognize rising anxiety or shifting moods which come with significant transitions into and out of cultures.

Those who carry an emotional passport recognize that moving between cultures can contribute to high emotional arousal (discomfort, irritability, anger, homesickness, sadness) and understand that disengaging from emotional overload to quiet the mind will contribute to improved focus.

  • You may want to reflect on and answer some or all of the following questions:
  1. Describe skills you already have that might make it easier to settle into your program.
  2. Reflect on an experience where everything was new, and you figured out/found help to adjust (e.g. starting school, moving). What was the challenge? How did you approach the situation? What worked? Who helped you? What was the hardest part?
  3. Describe a time you asked for help. Whom did you approach? What happened?
  4. Describe an experience when you relied on others. What was it like?
  5. How do you know when you feel overloaded or stressed? What strategies work for you to  feel calmer?
  6. Describe your daily routine. How do you think will that be similar or different when you’re abroad? How would it affect you if your routine is different?
  7. Who and what will be particularly hard to leave? How will you prepare?
  8. What skills do you have/know about in yourself that help when you feel confused, frustrated or overwhelmed?
  9. How do you take care of yourself when you run out of energy? How will you practice self-care abroad?
  10. What do you imagine it would be like without access to social media for a day, a week? What would you do with your energy and time? Have you ever experienced this situation before? Have you discussed with your family and friends how your communication with them might change (frequency, communication pattern)?

You may find some of those questions difficult to answer. Please do reach out to program staff if you would like to talk about any concerns you have with one of our team members before coming to Jordan, or meet with your university counselor to discuss some coping strategies in advance. We are happy to give you some guidance and help you prepare for your semester with us in the best possible way! And of course you can always talk to us once you are in Jordan. Let us work together to create an authentic experience through guided independence!


  • Look for mindfulness activities that will help you rest your mind (we have some for you too!). Here is a very simple one that will generally help you in stressful situations :
    • Taking deep breaths helps to slow down the mind and heart rate, which can go a long way toward alleviating stress.


It’s also really important to find your balance between saying yes to cool experiences and valuing your personal self-care. Like, go see Petra, but also turn your phone off and hang out and talk politics with your host grandpa. There’s something to learn from every level of experience. – 2019 Program Alum