Saturday, November 17, 2012

International Adventures: So. What does American University of Madaba look like?

Written 11 November 2012. 

Tour taken 24 October 2012

Here we go on the campus tour.
First  of all, a location. AUM is about 7 Km southeast of Madaba, nestled in a bowl of hills. The campus is elliptical in shape with the long axis running east-west more or less with the gates at the west end of campus. AUM lies just off the King's Highway, so it is just a short trip from Madaba, probably 10 minutes on an average day.  The parking lot beside the IT building is 9.3 Km from my front door. Not a bad commute at all.

Once you turn off the King's Highway, the entrance road to campus is about 1.5 Km long. As you approach the campus you see the Seal of AUM and just behind it the gates to campus. 

The IT building is furthest to the right in this picture on the south side of campus. The campus is surrounded by a ring road. There are no roads through campus by design. It is meant to be a more people-friendly, walkable space. Once through the gates, take a right under the pedestrian bridge from the student parking lot and follow the road uphill to the IT building.

Here's my work home for the next 10 months. My office is behind the window furthest to the left. All of the buildings at AUM share a similar color scheme; off white stone, burnt sienna (if you remember that Crayola color)window frames and doors and blue tinted glass. It's a nice look.

The courtyard in front of the IT building is a very pleasant space, nicely planted and care for.

The bed of lavender and roses is particularly nice.

Just inside the front door is the reception desk. Our receptionist is not in the picture. That's Rania, one of the IT staff, behind the reception desk. The other person in the picture is our dedicated cleaning woman. There is a whole squad of women who work at AUM keeping it scrupulously clean on a daily basis. They all wear the same uniform. In addition to making sure that everything (and I do mean everything; floors, furniture, bathrooms, common rooms) is really clean, they also make tea and/or coffee for the staff. Our lady seems particularly amused by me, the new foreigner in their midst. She's slowly teaching me some Arabic so I can communicate with her.

Here's my office. It's a bit stark at the moment. Maybe I can bring some posters or something to brighten it up when I go back to Seattle at Christmas time. Basman's office door is just out of the picture to the right; Hatem's office door is just to the left, also out of the picture. Yes, that's right, they (and anyone visiting them) both have to go through my office to get to theirs. Makes my workspace a bit like Grand Central Station at times, but I do get to see everyone this way without having to do any walking.

This is the view out my window. That's my little gray Aveo in the center of the picture.

Let's take a short walking tour of campus. 

Just off the IT building's courtyard is a long staircase down to the rest of campus that runs behind Business B.

Walking around Business B brings you to the one of the most used courtyards on campus. It is a main gathering spot for students between classes. At this point AUM, only in its second year of accepting students, has about 500 students. The building to the left is Science B; the building to the right is Science A. Just out of the picture to the right in Science A there is a small cafe on the first floor. I eat lunch in that cafe most days. I can get a hot meal (usually a sandwich, but we had lasagna once), a salad, and a drink for 3 JD (1JD (jordanian dinar) = $1.40 at current exchange rates), so lunch costs me about $4/day.

This is part of the central courtyard with the front of Business B to the left and the back of Science B off to the right out of the picture.

I've walked down between Science A and B and am now looking back toward that central courtyard. Science A is on the left and Science B is on the right.

Just a bit further down the walkway. This is a view of Science A. I like the look of the buildings here.

Turning directly around from there, you get a view of the fields surrounding AUM and Madaba off in the distance to the northwest. The campus is completely surrounded by farmland. I don't know what they grow there as harvest time was over by the time I got here and the fields were bare. They've recently begun working the fields in preparation for the winter rains, so over the next couple of months the look of the area surrounding campus is likely to change dramatically. There are relatively large flocks of sheep and goats kept right around here. I have no idea what they are eating as the land looks completely devoid of nourishment to me, but the sheep seem happy and well fed, so what do I know?

This  is a view of the front of Science B. Most of the administrative offices are located there.

One more view of the central courtyard looking mostly west toward the entrance to campus. The pedestrian bridge to the student parking lot is dead ahead.

This is Hatem in his office next door. He's a great guy and the administrator of the LMS that I am the specialist for. We have found that we have a mutual fascination with cars. He is currently enjoying some of the DVDs that I brought with me from the US (Top Gear, Rendezvous, Grand Prix,and Senna so far). He promises to bring me to some car related events in Jordan, so I can get my fix.

I took this picture in the late afternoon so you could see the difference in the quality of light that the blue-tinted glass makes.

As I left campus that afternoon, I pulled to the side of King's Highway and took this picture of the AUM campus nestled in its bowl of hilly farmland bathed by the afternoon sunlight. Those long buildiings just right of center toward the top of the photo are just off campus and are for chickens, I think. I hear a lot of rooster noise up that way.

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These are the things that interest me. If any of them are of interest to you, great. Read along


About Me

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I'm currently 60 years old. I currently work as the learning management system specialist for American University of Madaba in Madaba, Jordan. I was originally certified as a high-school English teacher and taught school for 13 years (1 year of substituting, 1 year of 7th grade, 2 years of a combined 5th, 6th, 7th grade, 9 years of 8th grade). I've worked for hardware and software companies for the past 23 years doing training, training materials development, certification test development and other education related stuff. My wife and I have raised four children to adulthood; some of them live at home at the moment, but that won't last (they're too independent for that). We live at home with 2 Golden Retrievers, 2 black cats, a crazy cat, and, during the winter, 70,000 coho salmon.