• Understanding the Middle East

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Apr 27, 2017 | Arts and Education

A blog post by Stephanie Brown:
(Cover Image: Deakin students (L-R) Amber, Cihan, Angela and Stephanie on the Middle East Study Tour.)

During my fifth year of studies in Law/Arts, I undertook the Middle East Studies Tour to Jordan and Qatar.

The study tour was designed to provide students with a comparative understanding of Middle East societies, as well as contextualise information students had learnt in the four core Middle East Studies units. This study tour struck a unique balance between cultural experiences and tourist activities, which enabled students to gain a holistic understanding of the two contrasting countries.

Jordan is perhaps best known for the city of Petra. In addition to exploring this city, we were able to delve deeper into the rich history and culture of this country. This included visits to the 12th century Aljoun Castle, the Israeli Embassy in Amman and students received a tour from the United Nations to a refugee elementary school and hospital. A particular highlight was the ability for Deakin students to engage in topical discussions with students at the University of Jordan. This visit highlighted to me the disparate nature of culture and religion in Jordan and it was particularly interesting to exchange personal stories with one another.

Qatar’s opulence provided a clear dichotomy with Jordan, which is far less wealthy. During free time in Doha, we would often visit the Souq Waqif to uncover unique souvenirs, traditional garments and foods. Doha also provided a glimpse into traditions of the wealthy Gulf states. We had the fortunate experience to witness a man bring his falcon – perched on his arm – onto our Qatar flight.  The sport of falconry is still practiced in Qatar and a visit to the Falcon Souq provided a distinctive, albeit sometimes unnerving, experience.

Ultimately, this study tour has proven to be one of the most beneficial experiences of my tertiary education and I highly recommend that students interested in the Middle East to participate in future study tours.

For more information about Study Aboard Opportunities with Deakin please visit our website.

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