Amman, Jordan Report of what it's like to live there - 03/11/23
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?
No. I've served many places, including other countries in the Middle East.
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?
There is a non-stop flight on Royal Jordanian (code share with American Airlines, the contract carrier) to Chicago, ~12 hours. There is also a non-stop flight to DC on United, but since it's not the contract carrier, it's very seldom allowed.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Department of State.
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing is all apartments, some are very large; some have small gardens, some have balconies. Many are older (with a bit of charm?) and a few a more modern. They are spread out, some located in a bit more remote places, some located right near restaurants / cafes / small stores, but all are within a 15 minute commute. There are some roads, especially at rush hour, that are very congested, but in general compared to many other capital cities, the traffic here is not bad at all. On certain streets on weekend evenings cars go "cruising" and it can get very congested and very loud.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Everything is available, though more expensive than the US. There are numerous high quality grocery stores that carry everything you may need, including pork products. There are a number of very nice malls.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
This is not a consumables post. I can find everything I need locally, and if there is something specific I want / need, I order online.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Everything is available, home delivery is very popular. There are so many restaurants / cafes.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
I've had some roaches during Spring. Embassy provides traps.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
DPO and sometimes pouch. I've used FedEx. Have not used the local post office, but am assuming it's good.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Very available though not very cheap. There is a "boab" at each building that you can pay a bit extra to wash your car, take out trash, carry groceries, etc. Housekeepers are about $7 per hour.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
So many options, some gyms are super nice. A number from the Embassy community offer different classes: yoga, zumba, jujitsu, soccer, etc. Sometimes there's a weekend yoga get-away organized.
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, anywhere. If you have wi-fi on your card, even better / faster.
5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
It helps to have some Arabic, taxi drivers or Uber drivers may speak very little English. And of course, it's nice to show that you tried to learn the local language. Otherwise, not very necessary. You can sign up for the language program with the embassy.
6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
It's very hilly, some streets are very steep. There are sidewalk, but some are very narrow, or have a tree right in the middle.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Taxis and Ubers are very plentiful and inexpensive. There is no bus system (that I've noticed).
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?
Anything will work. I've seen the very small Smart cars to the biggest SUVs possible. There are lots of opportunities to go out into the desert, so if you'd like to do that, bring something with a higher clearance and 4WD.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Yes, all sorts of options. Price is reasonable. My internet was installed on my arrival.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Local provider. The Embassy has an agreement for a very reasonable plan.
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?
Yes, lots of vets available, good quality. Several kennel services available. No quarantine needed on entry.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Business or business casual in the office. The annual Marine Ball and Black & White Gala are opportunities to wear your fancy clothes. I would guess that it's 50/50 Muslim and Christian population. Many women are covered, many wear open shoulders or dresses above the knees. Varied.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Driving is a bit hectic (though not as bad as many other places) and sometimes aggravating, easy to get into a fender-bender. I've not felt unsafe anywhere. Luckily I've not been robbed, though recently a couple of embassy homes have had attempted robberies. I have dogs, that probably helps.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Medical care here is very good and very affordable. People do everything here.
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?
Air quality is very good, sometimes in the summer we had dust storms, they do not last long thankfully.
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Winters are actually cold, it actually snows (sometimes just a cover, sometimes a lot). Summers are very hot, especially out of Amman (Amman is at a higher elevation). The air is dry, very little humidity.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Large. Morale is pretty good.
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?
So many groups, so many opportunities to do stuff. The Community Liaison Office (CLO) at the embassy does a super job in organizing events for families and singles, a big variety including restaurants and trips.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
For everyone I think.
4. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
I think so.
6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
So many wonderful places to visit, so many historical sites. Dead Sea. Red Sea. The desert. I've been here for over 2 years and haven't been everywhere yet.
7. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
yes, you can buy a lot of items: traditional lamps, mosaic tables, ceramic, art, etc.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Do you have any other comments?
This is a very nice Post. The Embassy is huge but for me really it doesn't feel that way. The city and country are super. There's so much to see and do. Yes, it's a bit expensive but worth it.