What do you expect when you visit a place such as Jordan? Different climate? Different food? You expect some "culture shock," right? However, while studying abroad I noticed one thing in particular that was very strange; Jordan may be very different, but the parts that stood out the most weren’t the food, the climate, or the language, but in fact the tiny aspects of the way that people live their everyday lives. Through my visit to Jordan, I discovered that this country and my homeland aren’t that different after all, and the similarities might be even more surprising.
This might sound like an oxymoron, but Missouri and Jordan are simultaneously very different and very similar. Waiters don’t expect a tip, and restaurants serve refreshments only out of bottles and cans, not from the tap. There’s also the whole communication system of honks and horns in the midnight streets of Amman. On the other hand, Jordanians are frequently out and about, shopping, just like we do here on weekends. There are taxis everywhere, and people enjoying their lunch in the same spot every day. There are friends walking up and down the streets to greet one another just as you might see in Missouri.
So what do you get when you visit Jordan? All the hummus you can eat? Yes, absolutely. The best hummus you’ll ever have? Right again. But, hummus aside, you’ll also find the realization that we, as humans, aren’t so different from each other, even if we’re halfway across the world. It’s in the tiny differences that make us human where we can find how similar we all truly are. I’ve come to the conclusion that we have much more in common than we actually believe. That’s what I found in Jordan.
Zachary Walker is a sophomore attending the University of Central Missouri, majoring in Political Science and International Studies.