Amman, Jordan Report of what it's like to live there - 02/10/21
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?
Two other Middle Eastern countries, two other posts in Europe, and one in Africa.
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?
East Coast. About 15 hours door to door.
3. What years did you live here?
4. How long have you lived here?
5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing is spacious, but there are variations in the quality. Our house was dated, but well built. Others are very modern with more problems. There are big issues with outdoor space being at a premium. There is virtually no outdoor space in the city, so this matters. On the other hand, people with ground floors had other issues: tom cats spraying their furniture, people throwing cigarette butts in, and the Boab killing plants. Boabs live in the building, and are paid through a combination of landlord and apartment dwellers. Good ones are rare, bad ones can make your life miserable. Not engaging one is not really an option, though some people try.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
I have found everything here.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Extensive delivery system, but the use of plastic and styrofoam is upsetting.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
None. Very few insects.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
DPO, never local.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
We had excellent help at US $650 a month.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
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, widely accepted.
5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
English is sufficient, and a few Arabic words go a long way.
6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
There are no sidewalks, those they have are uneven, high curbs, poorly planned, people grow trees in them, the list goes on.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Uber and Kareem are easy enough. Local taxi drivers smoke, so Uber is better.
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?
You will get dents. Don't bring anything you love.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Yes, good internet.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Local provider. Check your bills. CHECK THEM. Several errors and hard to fix.
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?
Excellent vet care. Cheap and come to your house.
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?
Many jobs for EFMs, an excellent program at post.
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.
We always felt safe.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Traffic and the lack of being able to walk, run, bike has an adverse impact on health.
Medical care per se is good. Dental care is ok. Many people choose to get orthodontia done, though a follow up consult Stateside indicated that the orthodontia we had done was not as advanced as stateside and required some attention ($5000).
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?
Dry and dusty, with some bad air quality. Lots of car pollution.
4. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
The absence of green space was hard on us mentally.
5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Jordan has seasons.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
ACS was mediocre, not great. No experience with the other schools.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
Minimal accommodations, though learning support seems to be good.
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?
Many people have nannies.
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
There are several, but the school does not provide as many as you would think and there is a lot of driving. So much driving in bad traffic.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Covid changed the morale, so hard to say.
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?
Good restaurants. Dead and Red Sea resorts.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
This is tough. It depends on your housing. If you have a yard, it is great for small kids. If you don't, I imagine it is hell. Middle schoolers it is hit or miss, depending on what they like to do. HS, not sure. I am happy I did not have a high schooler here.
4. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?
Jordanians are open and warm, but are quite conservative.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
I would imagine it isn't, though we had friends who felt it was quite good for LGBT expats.
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
Great gender inequality. Yes, the women work, but the mindset is unequal, bordering on misogyny. Men are revered and often dismiss women and pontificate in professional settings. It can be positively tiring.
7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Beautiful weather, good food, wonderful seasonal fruit: figs, pomegranate, and dates.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
No. There does not seem to be a strong handicraft culture or workmanship. There are some Syrian antiques, but otherwise not much.
9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Spacious housing and good food. Easy travel to Israel, vicinity to Dead Sea resorts.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
How little I could be outdoors, how little I could walk, how limited the outdoor space was. How much indoor smoking there is.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Not for three years. Two was long enough.
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
4. But don't forget your:
More sedentary hobby supplies: reading, board games, crafts, etc.