Name: Adam Beardsley
Hometown: Wynnewood, PA
Varsity Sport Participated in: Cross Country, Indoor & Outdoor Track & Field
Study Abroad Semester and Location: Spring 2015 in Amman, Jordan
What made you want to live and study in Amman?
I have been interested in the Middle East for a while, and knew I wanted to study there. Because of the aftermath of the Arab Spring protests, coupled with the instability in the region, Jordan was one of the only options I had to study in the Arab world, and it fit most with what I wanted to get out of studying abroad.
What is a common food there? Best meal you’ve had abroad?
Falafel and hummus seem to be some of the most common foods in Jordan. However, my favorite food is one of the more simple foods I have had. It is called shakshuka. It is a tomato and egg dish that is a pretty common breakfast food. My host brother adds hot peppers to it which gives it a very good flavor.
How did your identity influence your experiences abroad?
The biggest identity that has come in to play for me is my Judaism. It hasn’t been something I have talked about much to anyone, but it is something that I have always been aware of while in the Middle East. I have had to lie about my religion a few times while abroad, and knowing that I am one of the only Jews in Jordan is something that I think about quite a bit on a day-to-day basis.
How were you able to stay in shape or stay prepared for your sport while you were off-campus?
Due to safety from cars and modesty concerns, running on the streets wasn’t very manageable, so I ran on a treadmill in a gym at least 4-5 times a week. I kept myself motivated by entering two races while in Amman. The first was the Dead 2 Red relay, a 242 KM relay race from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea in Aqaba. The second was the Dead Sea Half Marathon, a half marathon that ended at the Dead Sea. Having races, and then the Cross Country season to look forward to kept me motivated to run and stay in shape despite me not liking to run on treadmills.
Do you have any words of advice for other athletes who want to study abroad?
Find other people who participate in the sport that you do. I have made a good number of running buddies and possible connections to run somewhere other than treadmills during races and other events. I wish I had made the connections sooner so that I would have been able to take advantage of the opportunities I found, such as running groups and people who have organized trail runs outside of Amman, earlier than two weeks before leaving.