Lets get the obvious out of the way: Palestine is not your typical study abroad destination, and not for typical student either.
Despite what you may know of Palestine from the news, it's a safe and welcoming destination, full of opportunities to learn Arabic, study politics in an area with one of the world's most complex political situations, or get to know (and perhaps fall in love with) a vibrant, Middle Eastern culture.
Browse the listing of programs below or continue reading this guide for more information on how to make study abroad in Palestine happen.
What do students usually study while in Palestine?
Whether you're studying in a local university, education center, or traveling to Palestine as part of a larger study abroad program, most students come here to study:
- Culture / anthropology
- International politics
While studying in Palestine, students may also be involved in field studies and research.
Do students need a visa to study in Palestine?
No prior visa is needed for Americans, Canadians, and most Europeans to enter Israel and Palestine; a tourist visa will be issued on arrival.
International students will travel to Palestine via Israel as there is no airport in Palestine, and Israel control all the borders into and out of Palestine. Upon arrival in Israel, students will be issued a visa valid for 90 days (3 months). If you're looking to study in Palestine for more than three months, you will be required to apply for a student visa. Usually, your program provider can help you with this logistical aspect.
What is the culture and lifestyle like in Palestine?
Palestinian people are considered to be very generous and hospitable. They are very eager to meet international and speak with them. Do not be surprised if people stop you in the street and ask you to join them for a coffee -- if you have the time, why not join them?
Some cities in Palestine are conservative, so it is very important to respect the local culture and customs, particularly in dressing and the drinking of alcohol. If you can learn some basic Arabic words or phrases before arrival, that's a huge plus, but also try to make an effort to continue your Arabic studies while there. Palestinians love it when foreigners make an effort to speak their language!
Initially, students may assume Palestine isn't a safe study abroad destination due to the presence of the Israeli occupation and the political situation. However, this image of Palestine is unfounded. In reality, it is a very safe destination for internationals -- male or female -- to visit, live, and study.
Every year many international students from every corner of the world come to visit, to volunteer, and to study in Palestine. As an international student, it's always good to know some of the local language and, when visiting major attractions, try to arrange to have a local (i.e. fellow students or your host brother / sister) come with you.
As far as health goes, Palestine has many hospitals, clinics, and doctors available in case of an emergency. Even so, it's always recommended that you have a good health or travel insurance when studying in Palestine.
In addition to the usual vaccines, it's also recommended (though not required) to get Hepatitis A & B, Rabies, and Typhoid vaccines before your travels (it's likely you already have a few of these, so check with your doctor before getting vaccines anew).
How much does it cost to study in Palestine?
Living in Palestine is relatively inexpensive and students can live comfortably on a budget of about $500 per month after program fees and tuition. This would cover groceries, food, transportation, and rent.
When it comes to eating out at a local restaurant or cafe (which you should definitely do while you're there!), even that won't break the bank. For example, a falafel sandwich costs about $0.70 USD.