Amman, Jordan Report of what it's like to live there - 03/01/13

Personal Experiences from Amman, Jordan

Amman, Jordan 03/01/13

Background:

1. Your reason for living this city (e.g. corporate, government, military, student, educator, retiree, etc.):

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2. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

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3. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

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4. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

DC. It is about a 16-hour trip, connecting through London or Frankfurt.

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5. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

DC. It is about a 16-hour trip, connecting through London or Frankfurt.

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6. How long have you lived here?

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7. How long have you lived here?

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8. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

(The contributor is affiliated with the U.S. Embassy and has been living in Amman for just over two years, a second expat experience.)

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

I commute no more then 10 minutes to the US Embassy. Housing is mostly in large flats. Workmanship is poor, so things frequently break or don't work, but it's not too frustrating. Chances are you will run out of heat and hot water a few times a year and wait a few hours until someone can come fix the issue. Housing quality varies: some apartments are gorgeous, while others are just okay. I think it's the luck of the draw when you arrive.

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2. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

I commute no more then 10 minutes to the US Embassy. Housing is mostly in large flats. Workmanship is poor, so things frequently break or don't work, but it's not too frustrating. Chances are you will run out of heat and hot water a few times a year and wait a few hours until someone can come fix the issue. Housing quality varies: some apartments are gorgeous, while others are just okay. I think it's the luck of the draw when you arrive.

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3. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Fruits, vegetables and bread are cheaper than in the US. Everything else is much more expensive. It all kind of evens out, though.

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4. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Fruits, vegetables and bread are cheaper than in the US. Everything else is much more expensive. It all kind of evens out, though.

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5. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

You can really get everything here, it just depends how badly you want it. Things are expensive, but if paying $30 for pecans is okay for you, then you can get them. I ship my cereal, but everything else I buy locally --- even chocolate chips at $7 a bag.

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6. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

You can really get everything here, it just depends how badly you want it. Things are expensive, but if paying $30 for pecans is okay for you, then you can get them. I ship my cereal, but everything else I buy locally --- even chocolate chips at $7 a bag.

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7. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

All of the American fast food you could want. Also good Arabic restaurants (and pretty much everything else) but nothing is cheap. You will pay twice as much as you would in the States to eat out somewhere decent.

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8. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

All of the American fast food you could want. Also good Arabic restaurants (and pretty much everything else) but nothing is cheap. You will pay twice as much as you would in the States to eat out somewhere decent.

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9. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Lots of people have ant issues. Some even have mosquito issues and the occasional cockroach.

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10. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Lots of people have ant issues. Some even have mosquito issues and the occasional cockroach.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Through the DPO

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2. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Through the DPO

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3. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Full time is about $600 a month.

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4. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Full time is about $600 a month.

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5. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes

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6. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes

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7. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

You can use your credit card just about anywhere. There are lots of ATMS.

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8. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

You can use your credit card just about anywhere. There are lots of ATMS.

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9. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes. There is a Protestant church, Catholic and Mormon.

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10. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes. There is a Protestant church, Catholic and Mormon.

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11. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

OSN TV costs about $70 a month.

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12. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

OSN TV costs about $70 a month.

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13. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None

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14. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None

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15. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

There are no sidewalks but that being said, I think it is doable.

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16. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

There are no sidewalks but that being said, I think it is doable.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

They are relatively safe and affordable.

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2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

They are relatively safe and affordable.

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3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

If you are thinking of doing desert camping, you will want a 4WD, but for around Amman you can drive anything. You will probably feel safer in a SUV, though, since the drivers are nuts here.

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4. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

If you are thinking of doing desert camping, you will want a 4WD, but for around Amman you can drive anything. You will probably feel safer in a SUV, though, since the drivers are nuts here.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. I think its about $400 a year or so.

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2. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. I think its about $400 a year or so.

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3. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Zain or Orange.

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4. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Zain or Orange.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No.

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2. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No.

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3. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Yes, there are vets and kennels.

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4. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Yes, there are vets and kennels.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

No

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2. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

No

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Conservative.

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4. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Conservative.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Street crime is on the rise because of the economic situation, but it is still very low. It's the Middle East, so you are always thinking about security, especially since the Arab Spring. Jordan is one of the best countries to be in the Middle East

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2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Street crime is on the rise because of the economic situation, but it is still very low. It's the Middle East, so you are always thinking about security, especially since the Arab Spring. Jordan is one of the best countries to be in the Middle East

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3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Health care is decent. Dental care is decent and not expensive. Lots of people have been getting their vision corrected and have been very happy with the results. It's about one-fourth of the cost in the States. I wouldn't have major surgery here, but everything else is good. Most doctors and dentists were trained in the US or UK.

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4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Health care is decent. Dental care is decent and not expensive. Lots of people have been getting their vision corrected and have been very happy with the results. It's about one-fourth of the cost in the States. I wouldn't have major surgery here, but everything else is good. Most doctors and dentists were trained in the US or UK.

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5. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Moderate. Running outside isn't a good idea, not just because of the dust, but because you will probably get hit by a car or chased by a rabid dog.

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6. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Moderate. Running outside isn't a good idea, not just because of the dust, but because you will probably get hit by a car or chased by a rabid dog.

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7. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

4 seasons, wonderful spring and fall, short winter, great summer, hot but not above 100% usually.

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8. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

4 seasons, wonderful spring and fall, short winter, great summer, hot but not above 100% usually.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Good schools. People are overall happy with ACS (American) and ICS (British), and a few send their kids to a Christian school. Also, there is a large homeschooling population here. Pre-K schools are good, too: Little Academy and Hill House. People seem happy with the school choices.

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2. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Good schools. People are overall happy with ACS (American) and ICS (British), and a few send their kids to a Christian school. Also, there is a large homeschooling population here. Pre-K schools are good, too: Little Academy and Hill House. People seem happy with the school choices.

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3. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

ICS takes special needs kids but doesn't really have the resources to help them

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4. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

ICS takes special needs kids but doesn't really have the resources to help them

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5. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Little Academy or Hill House. Everyone also has nanny.

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6. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Little Academy or Hill House. Everyone also has nanny.

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7. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes. All the schools have programs and there is also ballet and rock climbing.

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8. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes. All the schools have programs and there is also ballet and rock climbing.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Large.

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2. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Large.

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3. Morale among expats:

Pretty good. Everyone has complaints, but overall Amman is a nice place to be.

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4. Morale among expats:

Pretty good. Everyone has complaints, but overall Amman is a nice place to be.

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5. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Restaurants, people's houses.

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6. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Restaurants, people's houses.

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7. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Great for families. Singles and couples seem to do well here.

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8. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Great for families. Singles and couples seem to do well here.

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9. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Probably not

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10. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Probably not

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11. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not really

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12. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not really

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13. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Dead Sea, Um Quais, camping.

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14. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Dead Sea, Um Quais, camping.

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15. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

In Amman, there aren't a lot of things to do. The US Embassy and UK Embassy have pools. There is also the Orthodox Club that people can join. There are a few parks --- nothing great but we have kept busy.

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16. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

In Amman, there aren't a lot of things to do. The US Embassy and UK Embassy have pools. There is also the Orthodox Club that people can join. There are a few parks --- nothing great but we have kept busy.

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17. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Carpets, Dead Sea products.

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18. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Carpets, Dead Sea products.

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19. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

There are tons of things to do and see in Jordan, the weather is fantastic, and you can save money if you are not at the Dead Sea every weekend.

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20. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

There are tons of things to do and see in Jordan, the weather is fantastic, and you can save money if you are not at the Dead Sea every weekend.

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21. Can you save money?

Absolutely! Just try not to go to the Dead Sea every weekend!

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22. Can you save money?

Absolutely! Just try not to go to the Dead Sea every weekend!

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes. As far as the Middle East goes, it doesn't get any better than this. Sure, the gulf is cleaner and it has everything you can buy, but Jordan has the best weather, outdoor activities and culture. You will probably find that two years will be enough, but if you are here longer it is still a good place to be.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes. As far as the Middle East goes, it doesn't get any better than this. Sure, the gulf is cleaner and it has everything you can buy, but Jordan has the best weather, outdoor activities and culture. You will probably find that two years will be enough, but if you are here longer it is still a good place to be.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

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4. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

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5. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen and camping gear.

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6. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen and camping gear.

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7. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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8. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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9. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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10. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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11. Do you have any other comments?

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12. Do you have any other comments?

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