Awad Abroad: Dubs Take Summer Learning Overseas


Dub Ryder Zufi is joined by wordly program participants touring Wadi Rum via camel during their three-week immersion program with Arabic teacher Awad Awad in Amman, Jordan.

Summer is a time for students to seek a much needed break from the pressures of the eleven stories. Some decided to flip the switch from studious Dub to wordly warrior and use their time off to join Arabic teacher Awad Awad in pursuit of knowledge and adventure. Students and staff braved the nearly 24 hour travel day to reach their exciting destination – Amman, Jordan, embodying the true spirit of a curious IB learner. 

Two North Atlanta Dubs, Juniors Ryder Zufi and Charity Dent chose to extend their Arabic studies overseas, among a group of individuals of all countries and ages, including a Math Research Post-Doctoral Fellow at a Georgia University. The motley crew was brought together by the Alif Institute – a Georgia-based organization devoted to fostering an appreciation and understanding of Arab culture – and guided by Awad, who paved the way for the trip as the organizer, planner, and chaperone. The unconventional nature of the trip gave students the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone and engage with their host country alongside adventurous travel partners. “The trip is definitely not for the faint of heart,” said Dent. “I enjoyed venturing out and learning about another culture and am very grateful for the opportunity and experience of a lifetime.”

Alif students explored academics outside of the classroom at one of the most elite institutions in Jordan, the Sajal Institute, amongst Ivy League students and foreign diplomats. The program was created with the goal of strengthening student’s language skills – both spoken and written – as well as to impart intercultural communication and experiential learning through cultural immersion. “I think it shocked everyone how well they were able to navigate on their own, which increased their motivation to learn and truly engage with their surroundings,” said Awad.

During the week, the student Dubs, Awad and their counterparts attended advanced language skill classes in the Sajal Institute before heading into Amman to put their classroom knowledge to the test. Their first week of instruction consisted of learning colloquial dialect, while the latter two weeks delved into an integrated approach to speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Students adopted a local cafe as their habitual homework spot before exploring the town and investigating a diversity of culture that Amman offers to tourists and locals alike. On weekends, the group basked in the beauty and thrills of Jordan summers, including snorkeling in the Red Sea and sightseeing in one of the New Seven Wonders, Petra. “The program allowed me to experience the Arab world firsthand, in a way that felt genuine and personal,” said Zufi. 

From the Wadi Rum desert, to the town of Umm Qais, Dubs excelled at the opportunity to advance their Arabic studies thousands of miles from teacher Awad’s classroom while gaining an irreplaceable cultural experience. “The true impact of the trip happens in the weeks, months, and years of reflection on our new-found understanding that we’re all taking home with us,” said Awad. Now that’s what you’d call a Warrior adventure for the books! Stay curious and cultural, Dubs.