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Nadia Qattan - 1985-86

Jordanian exchange student stays with deJesus family
By Bill Keaton

A few days ago Amy deJesus didn’t have a sister, but now she has one her own age.

Nadia Qattan, an American Field Service student from Jordan will be spending the next year with the Nelson deJesus family. Miss Qattan learned of the foreign exchange student program in school, and was given permission by her father to participate. She was very pleased to learn she would be spending a year in the U.S.

“Everyone in Jordan would like to come to America,” she said eagerly.

Miss Qattan is from Amman, the capitol of Jordan, where her father works as an attorney. Her mother is a former school teacher, but now stays at home to take care of her oldest child, and has three brothers and a sister.

Reading and listening to music are two of Miss Qattan’s favorite pastimes. She brought tapes of Arabic music with her, as she has a hard time understanding English music.
She listens intently and speaks English well, though her present vocabulary is limited. English is required study in Jordanian schools.

“I want to learn English,” she said, laughing afterward.
“Nadia is working hard on her English,” said her American “mom,” Rosanne deJesus. “We know what it is like to be in a country and not have a lot of words at your disposal.”
DeJesus is a French professor at Oberlin College, and the family has accompanied him on trips to France.

Miss Qattan is also looking forward to school here. She said in Jordan students are required to wear uniforms, and all grades are located in one building. It 

has not been determined yet whether she will attend Oberlin High School as a junior or a senior.

Amy deJesus had the idea of their family being host to a foreign exchange student. 

“We have had a lot of friends who have had foreign exchange students, and they said it was a great experience,” Miss deJesus said. “It took them (her parents) a long time to think about it. But they were pretty open-minded.”

“We liked the idea,” Mrs. DeJesus said. “We were just a little concerned because the house is small. But we have made arrangements for the house to be comfortable.”

In addition to arranging the house, the family read about Jordan and the Islamic religion to better prepare themselves for Miss Qattan’s stay. Though she is a Muslim, Miss Qattan does not plan to visit a mosque during her stay.

During her stay, the deJesus family plans to travel throughout Ohio. Wednesday evening they attended a concert at Blossom Music Center, and Sunday they went shopping at a mall, a first for Miss Qattan.

It does snow occasionally in Jordan, though Miss Qattan prefers the summer. Despite not liking winter, she is looking forward to learning to ski.

Food is different here, though Miss Qattan was quick to add “I like mom’s cooking!”

Miss deJesus said she is happy she and Miss Qattan are both 16 years old. Not all foreign exchange students are placed in homes where there are persons their own age.

“We are going to have a lot of fun, and get along well,” Miss deJesus said. “I don’t think it will take long to cross the language barrier. That will make it easier for her, and for all of us.”
“I want to thank my family because they are very kind people, especially Amy,” Miss Qattan said.

Photograph caption: The deJesus family, Rosanne, Nelson (standing), Justin and Amy welcomed a new family member last week with the arrival of Nadia Qattan (center), an AFS student from Jordan.

Oberlin News-Tribune, Oberlin, Ohio, 
Thursday, August 1, 1985, p. 1.

Updated 6 November 06
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