Jordan is a small but important country that exemplifies many of the problems, as well as the promise, of all countries in the region. The population is divided fairly evenly between native Jordanians of Beduin and rural stock, and urban Palestinians who are ultimately refugees. Many thousands of Iraqi and Syrian refugees have also flooded the country. The economy is developing, but still has major problems. Water shortages are severe. Understanding Jordan is a good way to begin to understand the whole region. You will be exposed to a quasi-democratic country with some of the trappings and rhetoric of democracy but not always its substance, a country currently in a state of enormous flux and facing critical issues of succession, inclusion and legitimacy. You will be exposed to a multifaceted Islam in a variety of settings and manifestations, and to a political and religious discourse that is fascinating and unfamiliar. Most importantly, you will have many opportunities to meet and get to know ordinary Arabs and come to understand their concerns, views, and ways of living.