Jordan may be an unconventional choice if you're looking for places to intern abroad, but it's a surprisingly good option to consider. The Jordanian economy and political system is resilient and stable, and there are increasing opportunities for foreign students and professionals to come work in Jordan. If you have a passion or interest in developing your professional skills while in the Middle East, Jordan should be high on your list.
In addition to professional opportunity, Jordan has beautiful natural resources, amazing historical heritage, and developing infrastructure to support your daily life. In the capital city of Amman where most internships are available, you will likely feel as though you're quickly at home and comfortable, despite the foreignness around you. Jordan is an excellent candidate for interns looking to spend time abroad, and should be given fair consideration despite the turmoil in the region.
Despite being small and relatively scarce in resources, Jordan has many opportunities for budding professionals. Here are some of the fields where potential interns have great opportunities, though there are many more -- including multi-national companies -- that hire interns in the capital city of Amman. Jordan offers plenty of ways to gain professional experience in a beautiful and developing country.
History & Archaeology
If there were ever a country where you could really dive deep into history or archaeology without concerns about political upheaval or civil war, Jordan is the place. From top tier universities encouraging professional study of Jordan's dynamic history to archaeology firms that are still active in sites like Petra and Jerash, you'll have plenty of opportunity to learn part of the history of the world while interning in Jordan.
Jordan is a wonderful example of stable government, technically defined as a constitutional monarch. King Abdullah II and recently elected Prime Minister Hani Al-Mulki have helmed Jordan through instability in the region while Jordan has both preserved its borders and encouraged the growth of the economy.
If political science is an area of interest, consider interning at a private firm or branch of the Jordanian government. You'll have a chance to learn firsthand how the country manages the tensions of the Middle East and potentially gain insight into neighboring countries.
Public Health & Humanitarianism
Despite being a small country, Jordan is home to over 6.5 million residents, including refugees from the region (Palestinians and Syrians being the primary groups of refugees). The relative lack of important resources like water and infrastructure have placed unique constraints on Jordan's public health system, and refugee camps are on an entirely different plane.
If you hope to build a profession in public health or humanitarian work, Jordan is a safe country where you can gain experience and skills in the field.
Planning Your Trip
Far and away, the most popular city for internships in Jordan also has the largest number of opportunities: the capital city of Amman. Home to over 1 million people, Amman has all the major industries and is the home of many multi-national companies in Jordan.
Other, smaller cities may have some internships available, though these will be limited in number and likely require a fluency in Arabic for you to be successful in applying.
While on an internship in Jordan, you will likely be responsible for figuring out your own housing arrangement. In Amman, there are plenty of apartments, and new development is occurring rapidly in certain parts of of town. When it comes to finding housing and managing daily life, many Jordanians speak English, making it easier for foreign professionals to adjust.
Jordan has a complex visa system, and many professions are protected under Jordanian immigration law (meaning you won't be able to do an internship in those fields). For higher level professional work, you will need sponsorship and approval as part of a work visa process, and this must be completed before your arrival in Jordan. As you apply and secure an internship placement in Jordan, be sure to discuss with your employer how to navigate the red tape and obtain the right visa for your work.
While the cost of living in Jordan is lower than many parts of the world, daily costs for things like food and water are surprisingly competitive with Western Europe. This is because the Jordanian Dinar is pegged closely to the British Pound, so things like water and dinner end up costing a moderate amount. Rent is roughly 50% lower in total than places like London or New York City though, so you'll still end up paying less if you intern in Jordan versus in other destinations.
Cell Phone Plan
If you don't have an international plan with your carrier or don't have an unlocked phone, you can consider getting a phonehile in Jordan. Jordan is serviced by two primary cellular carriers: Zain (a Middle Eastern telecom company) and Orange (the international cellular provider). Both offer competitive plans and are very cost effective (ranging from 5-11JOD per month). Don't expect 4G LTE data speed, but you'll have the basics and enough to send emails and texts from your phone.
Etiquette & Dress Code
As a Middle Eastern and Muslim country (over 95% of Jordanians practice some form of Islam), there are some cultural etiquette issues to be aware of. While men can dress and behave roughly the same as they do in Western Europe, women should be aware that acting and dressing conservatively is expected.
Shorts and tank tops are generally not appropriate for women in public, especially not in professional settings. Additionally,e aware of particular social nuances around men and women interacting in mixed company; Jordan is generally quite progressive, but it's still possible to offend older Jordanians on accident.
Health & Safety
Many people express concerns about health and safety in Jordan, but these are largely unfounded. On the whole, Jordan boasts an excellent medical system and is one of the safest countries in the region.
The medical and hospital system in Jordan is excellent. Many Jordanian medical students train outside of Jordan, then return to become experts in their field. Urban and rural hospitals seem to be equally proficient at providing both basic and emergency medical care, and there is a wide range of specialist doctors available. Pharmacies are located in all cities and towns, and at least one is open 24 hours per day in each major city.
Jordan is a very safe country, reporting reasonably low crime rates across the board. There is a visible police presence in Jordan, and it's not uncommon to encounter police checkpoints while traveling or cross paths with police in the cities. Typically, officers are ensuring the peace, rather than responding to threats or unsafe conditions.
Contributed by Valerie Stimac
Internship Programs in Jordan
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