What Natascha learned during her internship in Jordan

Dear readers, my name is Natascha

I am 22 years old, a college student and a world lover from Germany. As part of my college program I decided to do an internship in Amman, Jordan for five months from August to December.

In Jordan I worked in a center for people with disabilities, especially children with disabilities in a special school.

As it is when you head to a different country for the first time, I had my share of problems. Whether it was simple misunderstanding, being ignorant of the basic cultural to-dos or just feeling homesick- any problem one has away from family and friends can seem gigantic.

I want to share what problems I encountered in Jordan and how I solved these problems.

Always go with your gut feeling! 

It was December the 14th. I was out with friends and I picked up the last bit of my money with my credit card. I considered transferring more money onto my credit account just in case anything happens but decided against it. I had a strange feeling traveling without any money on the account. I decided against it, as I was leaving two days later, would not be using my credit card in Germany and because i thought the costs of picking up money would be a waste. I had enough money with me in cash to last a day. What could go wrong with a hundred euro cash? 


the official Name for Jordan is “the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” and its a country with a rich culture, many religions and people groups. The country is known for its beautiful deserts, the dead sea and one of the seven new world wonders – Petra

Don’t let small mistakes drag you down

It was December the 16th. I was packed and ready to go. My time in Jordan was up and I was looking forward to flying back to Germany and spending Christmas with my family. I was brought to the airport by a Jordanian driver and a fellow German student. We said our goodbyes and I went through the security at the airport where I realized my first mistake. I left my phone back where I lived. As I came quite early to the airport, I managed overcome the first worries with self-reassurance. I asked the Lufthansa staff at the counter of my baggage check-in to use his phone and this staff member kindly allowed me to. In the nick of time my German friend brought me my phone and when the goodbyes we repeated, I headed into the inner security checkpoint. I was at the checkpoint and held out my visa, confident that nothing else could go wrong. It was then, that the small uncomfortable problem became a bigger, more chaotic one.

But I was wrong. The airport staff repeatedly glanced at my visa and back at me. The nagging feeling that something wasn’t going according to plan came back. The staff asked me to take my visa and go to the police station at the side of the airport security checkpoint. So I went out of line and headed to an empty cubicle. The cubicle was empty and there was no policeman in sight. With my eye on the time, which was by now no longer merciful, I asked passing-by staff members who the person in charge of the cubicle was and where he was. As I became more worried, I felt the stress rising and I became more frustrated by the minute. Finally, after ten minutes waiting, a policeman came to take his position. I asked him for the reason I was asked to head out of the line. He looked over my passport papers and laid them out on the counter between us.  “You’re Visa stamp is not correct. You have been in this country illegally for the few months.” 

“Excuse me?” I asked, aghast. In my mind there was absolutely no way that could be possible. Previously to this, together with my friend, I did every step that was asked of me. We were in Jordan on a tourist visa and visited the police station regularly to extend the visas. We received a stamp from the police stations every time. So how could something be wrong? I begged the policeman to call the police station where we got our stamps from but no matter how much I tried to explain he wouldn’t budge. He told me the only way to catch my flight was to pay a penalty, which added up to 120,- Euro. Immediately the alarm went off in my head. 120,- Euro! It could have been any amount of money but it just had to more than the amount I brought with me in cash. My credit card wouldn’t allow me to go into minus. None of my other cards were usable in Jordan. If I was to catch my flight I needed the money now, within ten minutes. I asked the officer what I could do but he just shook his head at me and asked me to leave the counter. Then a thought came into my head: Would it be possible to transfer money to a money transfer at the airport and pick it up in cash? I ran back through the security checkpoint and ran down to the Arrivals where there was such an office. But they couldn’t help me as they had no experience with online transfers. With only 5 minutes before the gate closed, I knew I was out of time. By now I was angry at everyone and everything: the police, the person who checked my visa and mostly at myself. I left the airport and took a taxi cab back to the place I had called home for a few months.

I reluctantly had to call it home for another few days. Going back to my Jordanian home, allowed me to say goodbye to many people I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to previously. They provided me with friendship and the help I needed to figure out what when wrong with my visa stamp. Furthermore, I was able to save my friend from going through the same trouble by going through the problem first. And I knew, that even though it didn’t work out for me in the end, all problems can be solved with patience and time.

Eine echte #girlsforgirls Situation

In der genannten Situation war meine Freundin einfach für mich da, denn unter den den vielen Person, die ich kontaktieren konnte, war sie die Person die ich am ehesten erreichen konnte und die wusste, wann und wo ich am Flughafen sein sollte. Sie war auch am ehesten die, die prüfen würde ob ich geschrieben habe. Ich wusste in der Situation, dass sie sich Zeit nehmen würde, um mir zu helfen, weil ich sie so über die Zeit vor Ort so kennengelernt habe. Das sie mir mein Handy gebracht hat, hat mir Sicherheit gegeben. Ich hatte damit ein Werkzeug, mit dem ich das darauf folgende Problem besser angehen konnte. 

Nataschas #girlsforgirls Tip:

Not everything can be under your control at all times. Check your documents and stamps and travel with a little more extra than what you need, just in case of emergencies. Keep a clear cool head. There is a solution of every problem. If something goes very wrong, it’s ok to be angry and frustrated – just don’t let it out on others. Finally, I did arrive home well despite my challenges. Trust your gut feelings and don’t let little or big problems get in the way.

Don’t forget: you can learn something from every mistake !

Your Natascha


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