The Middle East isn't the most popular destination for high school abroad programs, but for those students who choose to spend time studying or volunteering there, it is an incredibly rewarding region.
For high schoolers interested in studying in the Middle East, it's home to some of the oldest history in the world: the Lost City of Petra in Jordan, holy sites in Israel, and hieroglyphics in Egypt. It's also the largest Arabic-speaking region in the world, and a great place to learn about archaeology.
Of course, the Middle East is considered unstable at times. Be sure to stay up to date on the latest news before you spend part of your high school abroad there.
The Middle East is great for students who are interested in history, religion, archaeology, want to learn Arabic, or immerse themselves in Middle Eastern culture.
If religion, language, and culture are your interests the Middle East is a great place to look for the right program. You can chose from:
- Homestay programs
- High school exchanges
- Culture and language immersion programs
Students have the opportunity to sink into culture by living with and becoming apart of a local family. In countries like Jordan, you will be able to learn about daily life, enjoy local foods like lamb, pita, and spices and have a first hand experience on what life is like in another country. On top of learning through experience you will also attend a local high school where you will learn everything from politics to Arabic and history spanning thousands of years.
High school exchanges
Choosing to study abroad is an amazing experience and as a high school student it provides a unique experience to gain a new perspective on the world at such a young age. Attending a local high school abroad in the Middle East is an amazing experience to learn about culture, language, and history. Whether you chose a semester, summer session, or a full year, you will have the experience of a lifetime and see a different side to a region so different from your own.
Culture and language immersion programs
Jump head first into the authentic, eccentric cultures of the Middle East by living with a host family for 6 weeks to a year. The Middle Eastern culture, both forward thinking and rooted in their traditions, is a beautiful opportunity to for high school students to broaden their knowledge of the world. Culture can be as unique as a finger print and the chance to immerse yourself into one completely unlike your own is an opportunity that not many have and a chance for you to grow as a student and as global citizen.
Planning Your Trip
Israel and Jordan are two of the most popular destinations for high school abroad programs.
Whether it's one day or one year, you'll need to have a visa to travel to the Middle East. Program providers will assist in any visa applications and paperwork process.
Depending on the country, there may be an online application you can fill out and submit. Be sure to give yourself ample time for the visa process.
Based on the program you chose, you will stay with a host family or in a dorm. Typically, programs will provide meals and be included in the price of your program. Host families are carefully screened and students are placed in homes based on interests and personalities.
The Middle East can be either very affordable or just like back home. Expect to pay around $5-10 USD for an inexpensive meal. Local markets and cafes range from $2-$12.
In Israel and Jordan, for example, expect to budget about $30 - 40 per day for personal needs -- more if your meals aren't included in your program fees, less if you feel you won't have many personal expenses.
Program tuition can cost anywhere from $5,800 up to $15,000 depending on the length of stay, country, and location you chose.
Most of the Middle East is desert, which means it can get as hot as 120 degrees in the summer and freezing at night times in the winters. Be sure to pack sunscreen and light clothing. It is a hot and dry climate, yet there are many mountains in certain regions that can get chilly in the evenings and winters.
It is important to recognize cultural differences, such as wearing long sleeves and long pants for girls. Pack lots of long skirts, shawls, and dresses to avoid confrontation over cultural differences.
Health & Safety
No vaccinations are required to visit the Middle East.
Terrorism levels are very high, it is important to pay attention to your surroundings, avoid soft targets such as large gatherings and populated markets. Register your trip with the Smart Traveler of the U.S. State Department to receive constant updates on safety alerts.
Parents should know that programs will not take place in areas that are high risk to students and detailed safety plans are mapped out and readily accessible in the event of an emergency.