Have you discovered the treasures hidden in your own backyard? When the COVID-19 pandemic limited international travel, many people developed a new appreciation for local tourism in their own countries. With this idea in mind, and in honor of International Education Week, the YES alumni in Jordan visited the ancient ruins of “Gadara”, located in the village of Umm Qais in northern Jordan.
A group of 18 YES alumni coordinated the trip with the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism, which provided a tour guide. On November 19, the YES alumni saw the ruins of Gadara and visited its historical museum. The tour guide explained the history of Umm Qais to the YES alumni and afterwards they posted these “fun facts” to their personal social media accounts so their friends abroad could learn something new. The alumni were overjoyed with the opportunity to teach their friends in the United States new facts about Jordan, even after their exchange year had ended.
YES alumna Ann Barto says, “I went on this trip is because I think it’s very important to visit and show more interest in our local historical sites. If we Jordanians do not show enough care for these special places, they will end up being forgotten and thousands of years’ worth of rich history will go unnoticed. By supporting local tourism, we are inviting other visitors to Jordan, which will help facilitate cultural exchange and improve the local economy. As YES alumni, we want to encourage our peers to be more active in our community and to develop a greater love for our beautiful country."
Ann Barto (YES 2018–2019, Jordan, placed by YFU in Hummelstown, PA)