The activities in the fourth CL program were designed, planned and coordinated and integrated by the Jordan Media Institute, AlAman Fund for the Future of Orphans and the Madrasati Initiative.
The Jordan Media Institute hosted the foreign students in a cultural exchange activity experiences and knowledge was shared between JMI Master’s students and the UK students through open dialogues and panel discussions. Topics included gender equality versus genderfairness, the huge impact that the Syrian refugee situation has on the Jordanian economy and other implications for the region.
Students compared education systems in Jordan and the United Kingdom, as well as a brainstorming session about how to improve the educational system in Jordan with the available scarce resources.
The Madrasati Initiative activities, took the UK students to the south of Jordan to volunteer in two Madrasati schools in Tafilah. Here the Coventry students were divided into two groups – one with 16 – 17 year old students and the other with primary students.
The primary school students learned how to make paper airplanes, playing sport games, singing and playing musical instruments with the foreign students. The older students spent time learning about each other’s culture, made jewelry for each other and helped the foreign students as they beautified their school.
The foreign students also participated in a UNRWA civic engagement project between Palestinian refugee schools and Jordanian public schools in Jerash, under the Madrasati Iniative.
The Coventry students participated in a one-day mentoring and session with orphaned students of the AlAman Fund for the Future of Orphans. Students discussed their experiences and the impact of their decisions after leaving school. The result of such decisions has powerful reverberations throughout the course of one’s adulthood and little is known about how young people from different cultures and ethnic communities understand and respond to this transition.
Tim Rutherford from Coventry University said: “Cultural exchange is the most valuable tool we have for understanding a globalised world, and to have been in the midst of one of the most complicated, yet intriguing geo-political regions of the world, sharing ideas with people who are students just like me, was a great learning curve.”
During their twelve-day action-packed trip, the Coventry students also enjoyed some of Jordan’s cultural activities. They toured Dana Nature Reserve, floated in the Dead Sea, gazed at the stars in Wadi Rum and walked the ruins of Jerash.”