Sister's Success, Trailblazing
Finding Keys Overseas
Mia Nave, Florida State, and Edwina Eyre, William & Mary, have a lot in common: They both lived overseas growing up, they share a love of travel and they have a passion for experiencing other cultures ingrained within them.
The twist? They didn’t know each other until the summer of 2021 when they both started internships at the U.S. Embassy in Jordan. During a trip to Wadi Rum, Jordan, where they were so far from any light pollution they could see the Milky Way, the two formed a special bond and discovered they’re both Kappas.
Learn more about their experience working in Jordan in the interview below.
Q: Tell me about your position at the Embassy in Jordan. What do you do there? What does your day-to-day look like?
Edwina: I’m studying international relations with the St Andrews William & Mary Joint Degree Programme. I am working in the facilities office at the U.S. Embassy in Amman. The FAC office is in charge of making sure everything in the embassy and embassy housing runs smoothly. I just started, and so far my job has consisted of running around the embassy trying to figure out where everything is and struggling to remember the names of everyone in my office. Once I get settled (and finally figure out how to find the kitchen without getting lost!) I will be working as the ‘Green Journalist.’ The U.S. Embassy in Amman has rolled out green initiatives in the last few years in terms of water and electricity usage and solar energy and I will be interviewing, photographing and documenting the people and procedures involved in these achievements to ultimately prepare an article for publication.
Mia: I’m studying criminology at Florida State University and I work in the RSO (Regional Security Office). This position helps keep embassy employees safe overseas. I am an intern in their office and mostly help with residential and property security. RSO officers are Diplomatic Security (DS) Special Agents (SA). They are sworn federal law enforcement officers who are responsible for the security of Foreign Service personnel, property, and sensitive information throughout the world.
Q: How long have you been working in Amman? What’s the next step for you?
Edwina: I’ve been working in Amman for a little over a month, but I just started at the embassy last week. Before working at the embassy, I was interning at a Jordanian research center called the King Hussein Foundation. I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do after graduation, but working in Amman and getting to be a part of the interesting multinational community here has made me want to work overseas for at least a couple of years during my twenties. I would love to maybe move back here sometime in the future.
Mia: I started working in Amman two weeks ago. My next steps are to learn more about diplomatic security and what that entails.
Q: What was the most challenging thing about moving to Jordan?
Edwina: The most challenging part about living in Jordan is probably the language barrier. I am trying to learn Arabic via Duolingo and YouTube, but I still have trouble ordering in restaurants or trying to locate my Ubers. Last week, I did learn the word for ‘vegetarian’ though, so hopefully my restaurant experiences will begin to improve.
Mia: I would say the most challenging thing about moving to Jordan is the time difference. It’s hard to remember that when you’re enjoying the daytime, others in the U.S. are asleep. We also start the work week on Sunday here, which was an adjustment.
Q: Tell me about your favorite part about working at the embassy.
Edwina: My favorite part about working at the embassy is definitely the community. I grew up in embassy communities my whole life, so making the transition to working at one felt both natural and weird at the same time. Working in facilities is particularly cool because you get a behind-the-scenes look at the little logistical things that need to be considered to keep an embassy running.
Mia: My favorite part about working in the embassy is learning about how diplomatic relations overseas work as well as having a community of Americans to explore Jordan with.
Q: What’s the biggest takeaway you’ve learned so far?
Edwina: My biggest takeaway is probably that there isn’t one specific path that you need to follow to end up working in the foreign service, or abroad in general. Before I started work, I had this preconception that there was a defined route you had to take to work at an embassy like the one in Amman, but that’s not the case. There are so many different ways to end up in the foreign service, and embassies need more than just political counselors to function. I am currently working with people who have done all kinds of things before joining the foreign service and moving to posts abroad — those in my office have done everything from working at a cashew farm in Ghana with the Peace Corps to managing operations at Disney World.
Mia: My biggest takeaway from this opportunity is understanding both the benefits and the risks of living overseas. I am much more aware of my surroundings here in Jordan and am much more aware of how I act and what I wear to stay respectful of the culture while living here.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
Edwina: In my free time, my friends and I are on a mission to find the best places to eat in downtown Amman. We have a long list of restaurants we want to go to and foods we want to try before we leave. Recently, we’ve been obsessed with mutabal, which is this delicious eggplant-based dip they do really well here.
Mia: In my free time, I like to take trips with friends around Jordan. I have already been all around Amman, Wadi Mujib and Wadi Rum, Jordan.
Q: Tell me about your favorite memory from your time in Jordan so far.
Edwina: My favorite memory of my time in Jordan was probably when Mia and I were stargazing in Wadi Rum, Jordan. We had both started at the embassy but didn’t know each other very well yet. A couple of interns were taking a road trip to the desert, so we both went. The first night there, we were stargazing and Mia and I started talking and realized we were basically different versions of the same person — we had both grown up in state department families, so we had lived overseas for almost all of our lives and were both in Kappa! It was pretty surreal to feel that connection in the middle of the desert so far away from home.
Mia: I think my favorite memory was taking a trip with friends to Wadi Rum, Jordan. I loved being so far from light pollution that I could see the Milky Way.
Q: What are you looking forward to before you go home?
Edwina: Before I go home, I want to learn how to make a really good Arabic tea. I keep trying, but for some reason just can’t get it right — I think the trick is fresh mint!
Mia: I am looking forward to many more adventures in Jordan and making sure I learn to cook some of the delicious food they have here as something to take home with me.