By Melissa Knowlton
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? At Horizons Learning Adventures, we strive to take you to the most unique corners of the world. One of those corners we love to visit is Jordan, which is easily one of our most popular trips. Students love riding camels through the dessert, learning from the local guides, and trying the incredible food.
Inés joined us on our spring 2018 Jordan trip, along with Liza and Ashley. Here is her incredible story (and some of her own pictures!):
It is also wildly important for students of all majors and interests to go on an adventure such as this one in order to broaden their perspectives on the world.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
My absolute favorite part of the trip was bonding with everyone in a foreign place. I was unaware of the community that existed at my college and it warmed my heart to know I made everlasting relationships on the trip.
However, my absolute favorite memory was the nine hour camel ride we did in the Wadi Rum desert. We arrived at the camp in the Wadi Rum later in the evening when the sun had already set. We took jeep to our tents. (I say "tents" when they were actually polished, white tile floored tents with incredible beds and electricity. They were nicer than my bedroom!)
When we awoke, we were bombarded with the most quaint and breathtaking view I have ever seen in my entire life. Sheer silence and isolation hit me, in the most positive way possible; detached from our previous world and responsibility (a privilege to say the least).
On the camel ride, my camel Abu Shami and I bonded intensely. We both have some attitude. In Spanish, we call it 'chula' and let me tell you, Abu Shami and I are very chula.
What did you learn from this trip?
I learned to be open to new experiences and places. I learned further that our country sets a horrible example in regards to asylum for refugees and our policies surrounding refugees. Although that was something I knew prior, it hit me the hardest when we were enjoying a fabulous day in Jerash, where we met a family of refugees from Syria having a picnic in the site.
Our beloved and incredible tour guide Mahmoud translated our conversation for both us and them. As the conversation progressed, the family asked us if we had refugees in our country, and a devastating silence took over that moment. Certainly moments like that are not those that you sign up for, but the ones that end up being the most important.
What would you tell someone who is considering a trip with HLA?
I would tell anyone considering going on a trip with Scudder that it will change your life and how you view what college has to offer. Prior to the trip, I struggled with not feeling challenged enough in my classes or by many of my professors, and I contemplated and even signed up for continuing education courses at a different institution in order to extend my post-secondary education experience.
After the trip ended, I was saddened to my core that it was over. I decided to not transfer from schools. Scudder provided not only me but everyone else the experience of a lifetime. Our college is lucky as hell to have him and they should never take that for granted! I would tell anyone that they should prepare to experience positive and life-altering experiences that will help them grow as individuals.
What made you pick this trip over others?
The sheer uniqueness of the course, along with the literature we read leading up to the trip. I wanted to go somewhere I may have not gone otherwise if it weren't for Scudder's tutelage. I was in a place in my life where I was yearning to travel, and wanted to go somewhere that I had never been before.
In a time where Islamophobia permeates our country, it is so important to make decisions that help eradicate any subconscious biases that some of us may hold, even without knowing it. It is also wildly important for students of all majors and interests to go on an adventure such as this one in order to broaden their perspectives on the world; to make us better listeners and learners.
Any closing thoughts?
I didn't face a single challenge, other than having to leave Jordan.
You need to let yourself be vulnerable when you travel or you will not absorb what the world has to offer you. If you learn to do that after a couple of times practicing, you will be so surprised as to what you can learn about yourself.