History Student Studying In Jordan
Matthew J. Smith ’21, History and Middle Eastern Studies major, is currently studying abroad in Amman, Jordan. Take a look at his blog for updates on his travels this semester!
September 22, 2019 – I had the most amazing experience of my young life this past weekend. Through CIEE, several of us were able to explore and camp overnight in Wadi Rum and go to Petra the following day.
We arrived in Wadi Rum after driving south from Amman on the desert highway for about 5 hours. Wadi Rum, also called the Valley of the Moon, is most famously known in the West because of T. E. Lawrence’s book Seven Pillars of Wisdom about his time in Wadi Rum, and the film Lawrence of Arabia, which was filmed in Wadi Rum. After we got settled in at camp and a quick lunch, we loaded into the back of pickup trucks for a tour of the desert.
Our first stop was a large sand dune that led up to a small rock formation. Being young and adventurous, my friends and I decided we had to climb the dune and reach the top of the cliff. We quickly realized that attempting to run up sand dunes is the best cardio workout in the world, as we stumbled over and over while the sand provided no traction. When we reached the overlook, we were relieved for a few minutes of rest before we had to run back down the dune.
After this we loaded back into the trucks to see something truly amazing. High up on a cliff, archaeologists uncovered inscriptions from approximately 3000 years ago. Desert caravans used to inscribe on the soft sandstone as a means of leaving messages for other caravans.