Palestine is among the most politically and socially contentious countries in the world, and has been for the past several decades. Despite the fact that the instability in the region is not likely to settle down in the next few years, there are unique opportunities for interns in certain fields to gain invaluable career knowledge and skills.
If you are called to an area of work such as human rights protection or international policy, an internship in Palestine may be right for you. Be sure to research all providers in the area, double-check what is included (and what you are responsible for) and safety regulations, and prepare yourself for an unforgettable opportunity to give back while gaining professional and personal experience.
Unsurprisingly, most of the internship opportunities in Palestine focus on helping Palestinians improve their quality of life despite the political stresses of the region.
The most widespread opportunities for internships in Palestine are in the education field. Schools and other educational institutions in Palestine look for qualified English-speaking teachers from around the world to help Palestinian students of all ages learn English.
International Relations, Human Rights & Politics
There is also no shortage of internship opportunities in the fields of international relations, human rights, and politics. Given the widespread human rights issues in Palestine and neighboring Israel, internships can offer a wide range of experience. From administrative tasks to field work, interning abroad in Palestine is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the careers of those working in international relations fields across the globe.
Community development is a broad term, which can encompass any number of internship responsibilities from teaching to counseling to construction. Palestinian communities are in need of both professionals and interns willing to help them rebuild and strengthen their towns, schools, and other social services.
Planning Your Trip
The West Bank and main is by far the biggest opportunity for internships, as it is the most populous part of the Palestinian state. You'll find a variety of internship opportunities in the West Bank, though depending on the industry they may require you to travel elsewhere in Palestine as part of your responsibilities. Be sure to review the full scope of your internship, and take all safety and security warnings seriously. Cities within the West Bank where you can search for internships in Palestine include , in the south, and Nablus in the north.
There are also some opportunities in the Gaza Strip, but these are less common and come with a higher level of danger given the political instability surrounding the area. Unless you are devoted to your industry and the opportunity will provide you with safe housing and work facilities, internships in the Gaza Strip should be carefully considered before accepting a position there.
Depending on your internship, your employer may provide assistance with finding and covering the cost of housing in Palestine. Even if it isn't explicitly included, it can help to ask your internship coordinator, as they will be able to give you advice and support in finding a safe, secure neighborhood and place to live. Most likely, you will be staying in an apartment or homestay, depending on the type of work you are doing.
Many internships in Palestine are unpaid, such that while they provide you with valuable professional experience, they don't exactly help pay the bills. Be sure to look closely at what other benefits might be included with your internship to help defray the cost of not working while you're there. The cost of living in Palestine is quite affordable by Western standards, but naturally, comes with relatively fewer conveniences and comforts.
Similar to neighboring Israel, visas for internships in Palestine are typically not required – the one exception is if you do happen to have a paid internship, your employer will need to work with you to secure a work visa for the duration of your internship. If you are working at an unpaid internship, a three-month visitor visa can be obtained when you arrive in Palestine.
Health & Safety
It is strongly advised that you work closely with your internship provider to understand or negotiate all of the provisions of your internship before arriving in Palestine. Things like accommodation, visas, healthcare, and benefits should all be covered in your contract – even if they’re not included, so that you can prepare them yourself if need be.
Palestine is not the safest country you can choose to intern in, but most internship providers take special care to not put foreign interns in harm’s way. Even in the event your internship includes fieldwork, you should be provided with – or ask for – guidelines about when and where to go. Pay special care to areas or advice about restrictions such as the time of night you should be home by, or neighborhoods to avoid.
For healthcare in Palestine, there are both public and private options. As a foreign citizen living (even temporarily) in Palestine, it's strongly advised that you invest in travel insurance that includes healthcare. This will help insure that should you need to see a doctor or visit a clinic, you'll be able to get the care you need.