Toby Cochran arrives in Jordan

I arrived in Jordan about three weeks ago and so far I have been having a terrific time. I will admit I was wary when I first heard that I would be going on exchange to Jordan. Jordan is a country basically surrounded by war. With all the news of warring and terrorism in the region, I had a stereotypical view of the Middle East as a whole, which only made me more cautious. In my first few days here, however, I quickly learned that my understanding of the region is very “Western.” Most Kings’ students were very surprised when they heard about my initial reaction to being given Jordan. While there are many issues in the region, Jordan is safe and the school is very safe.

While I am having a great time now, my exchange got off to a rough start as my luggage had been left at my connection in New York. For the first few days I found it hard to settle in or feel particularly comfortable, as my luggage had not yet arrived. With a lot of help from my mom, we were able to get a hold of where my luggage was and we were reunited. Despite not having my luggage for that time, I was still able to get to know the people in my dorm and began to make friends. The main issue I have found (which has not been big) is that practically everyone speaks Arabic, which can sometimes create a language barrier. So far I have not seen that much of Jordan, as in I have not spent time in the cities. I have gone on trips to the Dead Sea and to Petra. While I did find the Dead Sea a little underwhelming (and I got the salt water in my eyes, which was terrible), I thought Petra was amazing. The carvings in the stones were unbelievable. I had not realized that there was more than the one main carving/building. There are actually hundreds of carvings that go on for miles. The other cool thing about Petra is the natural rock formations that Petra was carved into. There were large caverns carved by water erosion from when the sea level was so much higher. It was truly an amazing experience and I wish I had had more time there.

In summary, I am having a great time. I have a bunch of friends and I am making more. I have already done a lot, but there is still more for me to see and do. I do miss my family and friends and cats back home. but I am still really enjoying myself. I look forward to what the future holds and I can’t wait for my next adventure.