What it’s like to live in Jordan
It’s probably safer here than in most European countries
Most people seem to be under the impression that the whole of the Middle East is a warzone or a desert. That’s also what I assumed when my family first announced that they were moving to Jordan.
When I worked out, on a map, where they’d be going, my heart sank. It is wedged between Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. These areas do not suggest “peace”.
However after much online research, I soon discovered that Jordan is perceived as the safe haven amid all the Middle East’s tension. I was still sceptical as to how things were over there, but thankfully, that all changed as soon as I visited this beautiful country.
How safe is it?
I don’t know why but I feel safer when I’m in Amman (the capital of Jordan) than when I’m in London. I’ve never found myself in any dangerous situations in the many times that I have been there.
Certainly, if you check the British Government website, people are advised against travel within 3km to the Syrian border, unless it is essential because there is a high risk of terrorism. A recent military operation against a terrorist cell took place in Irbid, a city very close to the Syrian border. However, aside from that instance, there have been no reports of terrorism in the last couple of years in the country. Although I study in the UK and often worry for my family’s safety, I realise that they are as safe as they would have been in any other European city. One must not be scared of terrorism when living in an area surrounded by it, because then the terrorists achieve their aims.
The people are so friendly
Hospitality is embedded in Jordanian culture. The people are welcoming, friendly and warm. If ever you are in need of help, Jordanians are eager to lend a hand before you even ask for it. It’s a refreshing change from the often grumpy commuters in London that simply don’t have time to help you with your luggage.
Places to visit
Jordan is a centre of culture. Unfortunately tourism has seen a decline in the recent years due to the conflicts surrounding the region, but there are so many breath-taking sights to see. Petra is an ancient city carved out of rock and there is the Dead Sea, where you will float, because it is seven times saltier than normal sea water. You can visit the remains of an ancient Roman city named Jerash and Citadel, where three civilisations merge. There is also the Wadi Rum, the desert on which The Martian was filmed. Finally in Madaba you can find one of the oldest maps in the world.
The food is unlike any other in the world
If you’re a fan of Mediterranean cuisine, travel here for the food alone. You can find Turkish, Syrian, Palestinian cuisines and more. Jordan is also one of the largest olive producers in the world, so you will eat a lot of dishes incorporating them in one way or another.
The country’s attitude towards refugees is humbling
The country is ruled by the Hashemite King Abdulah II, who is supposedly a direct descendant to the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Over the years, Jordan has taken in many refugees from Palestine and in the last couple of years alone it took 1.4 million Syrian refugees. When asking a taxi driver why Jordan has taken so many refugees in, when the country is already struggling with its limited resources, he explained by saying “these refugees are our brothers and sisters. The royal family sees it as a responsibility to take care of fellow Arabs, rather than a burden.”
Jordan disproves the idea that different religions can’t live alongside each other
The majority of those in Jordan are Muslims. However, there is a substantial Christian minority. One would expect there to be conflict or tension between the two but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Both communities respect each other’s customs and religious holidays.
No one knows what the state of the Middle East will be like in the future, so if you ever have a chance to visit Jordan, you should immediately. It is a perfect destination for travel with friends and family.