David Jones is a junior at Lindblom Math and Science Academy Highschool in the West Englewood side of Chicago. Earlier this year, he attended the 36th Annual Arab Youth Conference in Amman, Jordan. In addition to the conference, David and his peers were able to sightsee throughout Jordan! In this blog entry, David reminisces on some of the personal highlights of his trip.
Three of my peers and I were selected to attend the 36th Arab Youth Conference based on our academic excellence in our Arabic courses. The six-day program was filled with amazing youth from all over the world; from different cultures and backgrounds. This helped me understand people who might particularly differ from what I’m used to experiencing on a day-to-day basis. During the program, we visited parts of Jordan, as well as Jerusalem. Each day was packed with fun activities and educational exercises. Through the program, I was able to meet life-long friends and establish relationships.
Throughout the trip, we toured everywhere: from the scenic deserts, to museums, to a horse site, and to a community center. At the community center, we were divided into groups in order to discuss world issues and potential solutions to fix them. The community center also hosted a talent show with all sorts of arts such as drama, music, dance, and singing. For example, my friend and I participated in a play that displayed a conversation between an older brother and his younger sister.
On one of the days, my fellow peers and I visited a host family where we were treated like family members, welcomed, and exposed to the host family’s daily lives. This was an event that I’ll never forget as the family strengthened my desire to learn Arabic by teaching me dialectal words and phrases. I was able to observe the depths of the Arabic language through the students there. They strengthened my desire to excel in learning and speaking the Arabic language! Despite my little knowledge and difficulty in the Arabic language, the supervisors present made an incredible effort to improve my understanding by using translators. One of my favorite moments from my time spent with this host family was when they showed me around their beautiful house and garden. They also took me and my friend to a museum in Amman! This museum was packed with historical facts, articles, and small readings.
During my time in Jordan, I enjoyed everything from the foods, to the people, to the culture, to the beautiful scenic landscapes. This was a trip that I will never forget. One outcome from this trip is that, someday, I want to own property in Amman, Jordan.