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Around the World with Dartmouth Lacrosse: Hilary Smith

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Throughout the fall term, Dartmouth women's lacrosse players will be sending in updates from their travels around the globe. Team members are currently studying, interning and volunteering abroad in a variety of countries thanks to the flexibility provided by the College's four-quarter Dartmouth-Plan system. Each student-athlete will provide at least one blog entry about her experiences.

Hilary Smith (Bronxville, N.Y.) • JR, M
Madaba, Jordan • Teaching

Hello from Madaba, Jordan!

Fall term 2010 finds me right in the center of the Middle East, in Jordan. I live in a girl's dormitory house, working at a school in Madaba-Manja, which is about a 30 minute drive (or 10 JD taxi) from the capital, Amman. I'm here by myself, which is a slightly daunting prospect, but I'm not alone in that there is a bunch of other young faculty from the States - including a Dartmouth grad!

Because the school is private, and not a government school, most of the classes are taught in English, but outside of class the dominant language is Levantine Arabic. One of the hard things about trying to speak and understand the language here is that every region has a different accent and dialect. So speaking to people using the Arabic I learned in the First Year Classes in Arabic I took at Dartmouth is roughly the equivalent of speaking in Shakespearean English back in the US. Fortunately, the kids love to teach me new phrases and words that they regularly use in the spoken dialect.

Outside of work, it's fairly easy to travel. Mostly we get around via taxis, which are very cheap, or we catch a ride in someone's car - I don't really trust myself driving here, it's like New York City driving without any road lines or stop signs, at twice the speed. Our favorite place to eat for dinner is called Dream, or Dream Rest(aurant). You can feed about 15 people for the price of one salmon dinner from the grill at "Homeplate" (Dartmouth dining hall). The food in Jordan is amazing, and wherever you go they start you off immediately with giant fresh baked pita breads and loads of hummus.

I'm seven hours ahead of Hanover, so I'm reaching the end of my workday. I'll check back in later with stories from the little bit of traveling I've done within Jordan - such as Petra, where they filmed scenes from Indiana Jones - as well as more about the food, of course.