I arrived at The University of Jordan in late 2010. I came from Spain and was used to a typical western life. I did not know exactly what I would find. My parents were so worried about me. For people in my hometown it was (and still is) difficult to understand why I was moving to the Middle East: once my mother was asked at the supermarket if I was a soldier!
When I landed, my first big challenge in Jordan was language. After four years spent over the books, I thought I was ready to practice my Arabic. I did not expect that huge differences between my grammar lessons and the spoken language. I felt lost and it took me almost a year to start understanding and talking with people.
Then lessons began. In the classroom there were also things I couldn't understand. The students’ behavior seemed weird to me (and for sure I was weird to them). What worked in Spain did not work here. Some students felt shy, others did not understand what I wanted them to do. It was a big deal redefining my style of teaching. But little by little we broke these barriers. Helping students applying for scholarships to Spain strengthened ties between us. In their feels and expectations I saw the same feeling I had when I first came to Jordan. I understood that there are many things that make us different, that make us love our homelands and prefer our way to do things. It took time, but it is absolutely necessary to continue meeting each other. I don't feel that I am just a teacher here. I see myself as well as a learner every day, inside and outside the classroom. So I hope that students continue to travel to Spain and, after me, many other lecturers come from Spain to experience the chances I have had during these years.
Hard times in Jordan passed away for me, but all the people helped me to learn how to deal with my new everyday life in Jordan. There are two things I will always keep with me after this experience in Jordan. First is the great treatment I received from partners and students. Second, of course, Mansaf!