North Central College - Naperville, IL

Carly Johnston

Study Abroad

Carly Johnston chose to study in Jordan because she wanted a life-changing academic experience that would set her apart. “I saw it as an opportunity to expand my résumé, learn a third language and make connections to make my goals a reality,” she says. “I also wanted exposure living in a region less-westernized than Europe. When you live in an entirely different culture, you quickly realize how capable you really are.”

As an anthropology major, Carly is required to complete an independent study. With the help of a Richter Independent Study Fellowship, she researched how American expatriates manage their identities within Jordanian culture. Beyond learning Arabic and conducting research, Carly volunteered multiple times a week as an English language tutor for refugees.

“I love the people, language, culture and food. Jordanians and non-natives alike are incredibly welcoming,” she says. “I've made lifelong friends here and I'll be sad to leave, but I'm planning to return to the region after I graduate from North Central because when I imagine my future, this is where I want to be.”

Carly advises others to base judgments on firsthand experience rather than news or media portrayals. “I never felt as though I was in danger and it’s unfair to judge an entire region based on media portrayals. Living in Jordan is better than I could’ve ever imagined.”