Amman, Jordan Report of what it's like to live there - 09/10/20
Personal Experiences from Amman, Jordan
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
Not my first rodeo. This is my third tour in foreign service.
2. 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?
Oregon. Connect through NYC or Chicago from Amman.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
I work with a large embassy.
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing is mostly apartments. We have minimal outdoor space and had to push hard to get enough bedrooms for each of our kids. We have 4 kids between 11-19. Commute is great: five minutes to embassy by car or walking is about 25 mins. The walk isn't for the faint-hearted. Sidewalks are for growing trees here, not people.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Very expensive. All basic food items are about 25% higher here. Breakfast cereal is about 6.50, oatmeal is about 5.00 for the allest size. Fresh veggies and fruits are reasonably priced but not organic.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Vanilla, organic items (due to cost).
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
All takeout foods available.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Many houses run out of water and require calls for water truck fill up. Many have ongoing issues with AC split pack units.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Plan on 800-1000 usd for 40 hours per week. Household help isn't the best we have had in the world. Locals do not work as domestic helpers, you will need to sponsor someone from another country (most from the Philippines or Sri Lanka). Philippinas seem to have a monopoly on the pricing and tend to want it basic duties... Cooking OR cleaning OR watching kids.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Crossfit, gold's gym, women-only gyms... They have it all of you don't mind paying. Crossfit is about USD 175 per month
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Yes. Credit cards widely used and accepted.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
Several church services available.
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
Minimal Arabic required. Helpful if you need to take a taxi but Uber is very reliable and no Arabic needed.
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Yes. The city planning is poor with minimal sidewalks.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Uber is very affordable.
2. 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?
Any car is fine. 4wd if you are adventurous and want to go in off-road.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Highly reliable. Main companies are Zain and Orange
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
I use a dual sim phone with a Zain sim and Google fi sim.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
Volunteering options are varied and difficult to find unless you can dedicate full days during the work week.
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Not particularly. It is safe.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Great medical and dental care available at very reasonable prices.
3. 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?
Dusty during the summer but otherwise fine.
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
We get all seasons. Hot in the summer (100s)and cold in the winter (30s).
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
Good school options. Most kids go to Amman Community School, especially middle and high school-aged children. Some go to Kings Academy. Many younger kids go to the British school.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
The British school is your best bet.
3. 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?
Yes, many preschools available.
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
Yes. Soccer, basketball, tennis, gymnastics, karate, music lessons, etc are all available.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Large expat community but not close-knit.
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Book club, running groups (Amman Runner)
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
It's a good place if you like to go out to bars and restaurants and smoke shisha. Not great if you like having outdoor space and doing outdoors activities close to your home.
4. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?
Women are generally invisible unless you wear something revealing (showing arms, shoulder or knees) and then you are cat-called.
5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
Gender issues... It's the Middle East. Yes.
6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Hiking various wadis, wadi mujib, Petra, dead sea and seeing so many ruins.
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Roman ruins are everywhere. You can see many old Roman crypts along the roadways which are not labelled. Seeing pottery on hikes that is thousands of years old. We have found many fossils here on hikes.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
Maybe mosaics.. but not really a shopping post
9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Cheap flights (pre Covid) to Poland, Greece, England, Romania, etc. on RyanAir. Israel also a 45 minute drive.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
It is a tough place to be if you enjoy getting outside. There are day trips to do but they are all hours away and require planning.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Hmm... I'm glad I experienced it but I look forward to leaving.
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
Shorts and tank tops.
4. But don't forget your:
Long pants and shirts to cover your skin.