The Fourth Return

Interview with Expat Stay Christopher

By: Maya Mundell

Jordan undoubtedly attracts a wide and diverse range of visitors, tourists, and expatriates. Likewise the reasons for traveling to Jordan are just as varied. While most come for study, work, and tourism, others choose to come for more unconventional and personal reasons. Jordan is a charming country. Many of those who travel here leave a piece of their hearts when they leave. In my interview with Stacy Christopher, it’s apparent that all who travel to Jordan are not strictly on business.

Basic Stats:
Name: Stacy Christopher
Age: 24
From: Brooklyn, New York
1.      What sparked your interest in traveling to Jordan?

“Well, I traveled to Jordan in 2012 and had a really transformative experience learning Arabic here so when I got the chance to do public health work abroad, I decided to pick Jordan one more time just to relive that experience and have new experiences to look forward to in a different context.”

2.      I know this is your fourth time coming to Jordan. You must really like this place. What do you love most about Jordan? What keeps you coming back?

“I like the hospitality, compared to the other places I’ve traveled, the people are really warm here. They don’t hesitate to help you if you ask for it and that makes the transition here easier.”

3.      Which other places have you traveled to?

“I’ve traveled to the U.K., Israel, Lebanon, and within the US.”

4.      What brings you to Jordan this time? What are you currently doing?

“I’m working with the World Food Program, that’s an organization within the UN umbrella that specializes in providing food assistance to refugees and other vulnerable populations. So in Jordan, we work specifically with Syrian refugees, providing them with the food assistance that they need to meet their nutritional requirements.”

5.      Do you speak Arabic? How important do you think it is to speak the local language in Jordan? Is a basic ability to speak Arabic mandatory to get by?

“I can speak Arabic. Right now, I’m struggling a little bit because I haven’t done it in a long time. As far as the importance, here in Jordan I know a lot of people who get by without speaking Arabic. I wouldn’t recommend it personally because I feel like you miss a very integral part of the experience here and you cut out a large chunk of people you have meaningful interactions with. But, compared to other places, you can definitely get by without knowing Arabic.”


. Quick Hits: Dead Sea or Petra?
“Dead Sea, Petra is too dry for me, it’s a beautiful place, of course but I prefer the Dead Sea.”
. Shawirma? or Felafel?
“Shawrima, chicken shawirma.”
 8. What were your first impressions of the city?
“I came here as a student three years ago and was fascinated by it, everything was really new and it was interesting taking it all in. It was my first time seeing these majestic mosques everywhere and these Roman ruins right in the middle of an urban, cosmopolitan city. I’m from a big city, so being in a big city and seeing all these cultural and historic sites left me in awe.”
9. What do you most miss from home?
“I don’t miss anything in particular, just familiarity, knowing where things are, knowing how to operate. I miss the ease that familiarity brings.”

10.  Do you have any tips for the readers and fellow expats about living in Jordan?

“My first piece of advice would be to budget wisely; Amman is not a cheap city. If you come here without a concrete plan of how you’re going to meet your living expenses, you’re going to struggle a lot. I think a lot of times when people from western countries come to developing countries, they think that it will be cheap and that they can just live a luxurious life and that’s not the case here. So definitely come with a plan about how you’re going to manage your finances. Second thing is be familiar with the culture, Jordan is a conservative place when it comes to religion, dress code, and things like that so it’s very easy to commit to some cultural faux pas that are avoidable if you just read up on the country before coming here. Just be observant and see what’s acceptable and what isn’t.”

The Fourth Return Reviewed by Unknown on 16:07 Rating: 5

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