Is learning about the birthplace of algebra, the toothbrush, and shawarma what interests you? Then earning Middle Eastern studies degrees abroad is the best opportunity to gain a first-hand perspective of the culture you’re studying. In a Middle Eastern studies program, you’ll have such a wide area of study, that anything from the Pyramids of Giza to the use of Quranic Arabic in common speech is up for grabs. Imagine walking down the streets of history that stretch back thousands of years before Babylon! Read on to learn more about the best Middle Eastern studies programs in the world.
Why Earn a Degree Abroad
Between fresh kebabs and the echos of an adhan, studying Middle Eastern culture on location is nothing short of rewarding. The amazing opportunity to study the culture in the Middle East will set you above and beyond the rest of the pack. From street food to the City of David, even in a dozen lifetimes, there will never be a shortage to do and learn.
While earning a degree studying the culture, music, history, and life of people in the Middle East, why not earn it where the classroom extends beyonds its walls? Being on location offers access to all the aspects that make up a culture, and with a broad term like Middle Eastern studies, there are many areas you can focus on. Earning your degree in Middle Eastern studies abroad will, literally, transport you to a whole new world!
The people in the best Middle Eastern studies programs — especially the locals you’ll befriend during your time abroad — will be a great resource for you throughout your career. Whether it be collaborating on future research or getting the jump on a great job opportunity, networking during college is a great way to help succeed once you graduate. Furthermore, the people you meet in your program are a great source of information, and great candidates for someone to grab some hummus with.
Employers are always looking for people who stand out above their desk crowded with resumes. The jobs that will be available by showing first-hand experience immersed in the culture which you’re studying shows dedication needed for any successful career. Career paths for people with Middle Eastern Studies degrees range from translating to working in international business, to working as a museum curator. Opportunities are boundless, so your resume should be as well.
Earning an international degree in Middle Eastern studies offers the opportunity to study in some of the most unique places in the world. Literally, anywhere in the Middle East is open to you, but some are are more full of kebabs than others. Pick what geographic climate appeals to your tastebuds and hop on it.
Israel is one of the most historically important areas on the planet, and one of the funnest to study in. Considered by some religions to be the Holy Land, Israel hosts many important sites that have played enormous roles in shaping our history. The territory itself has been occupied by the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Persians, combining elements from some of the most famous empires in history. Fast-forwarding to the current century, Israel is home to a diverse population, a strong economy, and beautiful beaches that stretch along the whole coast.
Lebanon is home to the ruins of history from half a dozen empires spread throughout the landscape. Because of its history, Lebanon has been influenced by Europe in several ways, including architecture and language (after all, French is the second most commonly spoken language, after Arabic). Lebanon also has some great universities; The American University of Beirut is regarded as being one of the top English-speaking universities worldwide. So, what’s stopping you? There’s some falafel in a shop overlooking the Mediterranean Sea just waiting for you!
England might not be your first guess where you would earn a degree in Middle Eastern studies, but there is a growing demand for specialists in this area, mainly due to the large number of refugees from the Middle East that have taken sanctuary there. In addition, the British Empire has had a lot of influence in the Middle East during the course of history, including the occupation of Egypt and Israel. Studying Middle Eastern studies in England puts you in a great position to work with people in need of someone who understands their culture and ways of life.
Middle Eastern Studies Degrees
Middle Eastern studies is a broad field, with many areas to explore. Degree programs are available in Middle Eastern studies, also called near eastern studies, in which students study the cultures and history of the Middle East region. Students who enroll in a Middle Eastern studies program take courses in Middle Eastern history (both ancient and modern), politics, literature, arts, sociology, religion and language.
An undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern studies takes between three to five years to complete. The courses helps to introduce different areas to focus on, including government and security, the Biblical world, and Byzantine history. Earning your Middle Eastern studies degree abroad is just as simple or complicated as it would be in any American university, with an application and submission of required documents, including transcripts and test scores... but with added experiences that money can’t buy.
Middle Eastern studies graduate programs are worth serious consideration if you're thinking of taking the next step in your career. Usually lasting from one to two years, these programs require having completed an undergraduate degree in a relevant field by the start your master’s program. In addition, GRE scores (or equivalent) may need to be submitted. Once classes start, you will soon find the intense focus given to topics applying what you know to events and issues currently happening in the Middle East.
If you are ready to be regarded as an expert in your field thanks to your Middle Eastern studies masters, capable of being a college professor or a historian, then earning a doctorate in Middle Eastern studies abroad puts you on the right track towards academics. It could take up to six (additional) years to earn the degree, to work on a dissertation, conduct research, or possibly teach both undergraduates and grad students.
Benefits and Challenges
First, let’s talk about wealth. Producing nearly 65% of the OPEC oil supply, the Middle East is an economic hub mixed with some of the most historically significant sites in the world. A degree in Middle Eastern studies earned at the forefront of the field is the real-life exposure that gives you an authentic experience, more so than any book or lecture ever could.
Languages are an important part of a culture, changing how we see the world around us. A language barrier can make it difficult to understand a culture, but where there’s a will, there’s a bazaar! Learning the language of the country where you’d like to earn your degree will help you truly integrate into that culture, communicate in everyday situations, and make approaching locals a lot more enjoyable. Not to mention that learning Arabic is a major boost to future professional opportunities.
There’s many reasons to earn Middle Eastern studies degrees abroad: floating on the Dead Sea, learning about different systems of governments, helping build bridges between cultures. The Middle East isn’t a diamond in the rough; it’s a place already full of warm people and sometimes an even a warmer climate. Whether you seek Middle East studies graduate programs or something more geared for beginners, we recommend you combine classroom studies with life exposure and take that magic carpet ride abroad.