Back to list All Articles Archives Search RSS Terug naar lijst Alle artikelen Archieven Zoek RSS

“Jordanians are proud that their country is stable”

“Jordanians are proud that their country is stable”

Photographer:Fotograaf: archive Floortje Rawee

In Jordan for the Nour Project

MAASTRICHT. One person is making a tour of Oman and writes a blog about it, the other teaches English to children for ‘SOS Kinderdorpen’. AIESEC, a student organisation that arranges work placements abroad, sends thirty students to the Middle East every year. This is done within the framework of the extra-curricular Nour Project, for which registrations start this week. Floortje Rawee, master’s student of European and International Law, studied the impact of Syrian refugees on the country of Jordan, last summer.

She was completely free to do what she wanted, says Floortje Rawee, who did a work placement with the Jordanian Debate Foundation. “This foundation organises debates on social and political topics. In Arabic, so foreigners cannot do much. The director asked what we wanted. I wanted to know what the impact of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in Jordan is on the country. They arranged for me to speak with people and if necessary they acted as interpreters.”

Rawee lived in the capital city Amman in an apartment that she shared with other Dutch students who were also there for the Nour Project. “But we also had a lot of contact with Jordanians. You could meet someone on the streets during the day and that evening you could be having dinner with them. Often you don’t remember how you met someone, but you are friends.” She didn’t mind being by herself on the streets as a woman. “I am very tall and blonde, so I stand out everywhere. Car horns were honked and there were shouts, but I didn’t pay any attention. It helps that I speak a little Arabic. Besides, Jordanian friends were very protective.”

It was not Rawee’s first visit to Jordan. “Three years ago, I was there for a holiday. I was curious to see if much had changed.” She discovered that prices had risen, water had become scarce and that people were fighting for jobs. “The problem is that Jordan has no commodities, just tourism. The latter is declining because foreigners are afraid to go there.” Nevertheless, it doesn’t cause problems. “I searched the whole summer, but found nothing. Of course people think that it is stupid that everything is more expensive and that they have to compete with the Syrians for jobs, but on the other hand they say: they are our brothers, our neighbours.”

On top of that, Jordanians are proud of the fact that their country is stable. “They are the safe country in the region and want to remain so. That is why they accept so much. They know that things will not get better if they revolt. Of course things are no way near as bad in Jordan as they were in Syria. It is not very democratic, but they can vote. The King is esteemed because he remains on good terms with the West, the Middle East and Israel.”

Something that surprised Rawee, were the cultural differences between the Jordanians and Syrians, comparable to the differences between the Dutch and the Germans. “From my Western perspective, they all look the same. But that is of course not the case. This is what makes it difficult when people talk about a single solution for the region.”

The Nour Project

AIESEC sends thirty students to the Middle East every year within the framework of the Nour Project. The students work on a project for six to eight weeks during the summer, which can be anything from working for a women’s rights organisation in Cairo to writing a business plan for a local NGO in Oman. The countries that they travel to are carefully selected by AIESEC. “These are countries where the situation is stable and no negative travel advisory has been issued,” says Mats Reijman, online marketing & exposure manager for the Nour Project. “If something happens – such as the attack on tourists in Tunisia at the end of June – we ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for advice.”

Students can register for the 2016 Nour Project as of this week via



There are currently no comments.Er zijn geen reacties.

Post a Comment

Laat een reactie achter

Door een reactie te plaatsen gaat u akkoord met de verwerking van de ingevulde gegevens door Observant.
Voor meer informatie: Privacyverklaring
By responding, you agree to send the entered data to Observant.
For more info: Privacy statement

Name (required)

Email (required)