Located in the heart of the Middle East, surrounded by both the Dead and Red Sea, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is both traditional and cosmopolitan. It is a culture different than the West, with an Islamic state which shapes most ideals and cultural practices. The streets have bazaars, or open air markets, filled with food and crafts and elaborate mosques, free for the exploring and worth experiencing. Those interested in human rights, social development, migration, or international policy will benefit greatly from an internship in Jordan, due to the nation’s current social issues.
The highest number of internships in Jordan are located in the capital city. There is, however, potential for internships in Jordan outside of Amman, in less populated areas, though less likely and more difficult to find.
Amman is the capital of Jordan as well as a central hub of 2.5 million residents. Built on a hill, Amman has a lively downtown area, with craft and food stalls and diverse neighborhoods that climb up to ancient Roman ruins at the top. Most internships in Jordan are based in and around Amman, because it is the location of most consulates and is a central location for most humanitarian agencies and organizations, such as those focused on social rights like the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies. The majority of internship placement providers are also based in Amman.
Petra. Arguably the most famous city in the country, an ancient city intricately etched into rock that is believed to be over 2,000 years old. Needless to say, Petra is an excellent place for those who have a background in historic preservation or archeology, in part because Petra has an active archeological site.
Aqabah. As Jordan’s southernmost and only coastal city, situated on the northern tip of the Red Sea, Aqabah is a frequented destination for not only its beaches but also because it shares an accessible land border with Israel. Although Aqabah is largely considered a tourist destination, thanks to its beach resorts and water sports, it also holds opportunity for those interested in marine studies and preservation. The coast of Aqabah encompasses over 1,000 species of fish and fragile natural reefs.
Internships in Jordan
Due to its role in Middle Eastern politics, diverse population, and wealth gap, Jordan has a plethora of internship opportunities in international and social development. Development internships in Jordan are mostly focused on research and administrative assistance. Tasks may include assisting in donor liaison tasks, evaluating existing social programs for youth, helping with funding applications and grants, or maintaining relationships with other human rights organizations. Interns may also contribute to research studies focused on program development and administration. Those involved in humanitarian work or development projects should have the ability to be very sensitive, as the social situations of those they serve will be complicated and typically laced with trauma.
Jordan is also perfect for internships in journalism, as there is much going on in Jordan that deserves recognition and media attention. Due to the nation’s ancient past, historical preservation focused internships in Jordan are also frequently available.
The majority of internships in Jordan will be entry-level and will require some kind of academic knowledge or background in the internship’s field. Although knowing Arabic is not necessarily a requirement for all internships in Jordan, internship providers encourage interns to have at least some knowledge of the language; it will not only help with day to day tasks, it will also greatly advance your understanding and contributions in your placement. Some internship placements in Jordan may include Arabic lessons, but it is also possible to search for independent Arabic lessons as an intern in Jordan.
Internships in Jordan range from three to eleven months, depending on the organization and how long you can obtain a visa for. Typically, internship program fees are required, and cover housing, arrival orientations, and excursions with fellow interns.
Salary & Costs
The vast majority of internships in Jordan, especially those with international or nongovernmental organizations, are unpaid and do not offer a stipend. Luckily, the cost of living in Jordan is not high; the costs of living are slightly lower than in the United States, with an exchange rate of 1.70 Jordanian Dinar to every U.S. dollar. Consuming food served at local cafes as well as produce, bread and meats sold at bazaars, or open air markets, as opposed to dining at Western-style restaurants or buying imported food, will save interns a lot of money.
The same general principle goes for clothing and transportation; as long as you buy local, use local busses, and not chartered vehicles, the the cost of living in Jordan is quite reasonable. Since most internships in Jordan do not provide living arrangements either, you will have to consider providing your own living accommodations, which can range from $300 to $400 per month for a one bedroom apartment. Arabic lessons are also a helpful supplement to your internship abroad in Jordan, but do come at a price (250 Jordanian Dinar at the most).
Accommodation & Visas
Most internships in Jordan will require interns to arrange their own accommodation. However, there are organizations that offer both internship placements and housing, in fully furnished apartments with modern amenities, so you can always consider interning with them. But, since these providers offer an all-inclusive package, the price for these internships will be significantly more. Either way, you will likely be able to easily find apartment-style housing in the major cities of Jordan.
You will need a valid passport and visa to intern in Jordan for any length of time. Visas can be easily obtained at most major borders and airports in Jordan, for around $30 for a thirty-day visa from your date of entry. Visas can easily be extended for stays of up to three months at a local police station in a major city. You’ll likely pay for an entry fee upon arrival in Jordan, and an exit fee upon departure. For multiple entry visas, you should refer to the Jordanian Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
Benefits & Challenges
Language Barrier. English is widely understood and spoken by the middle and upper classes, especially in major cities, such as Amman. However, it might be beneficial to have a basic grasp of the Arabic language if you wish to get the most out of your internship in Jordan. Some internships in Jordan offer Arabic classes; otherwise, you can seek out schools offering Arabic lessons once in-country.
Strict Social Interactions. The culture in Jordan is based in part on traditional Islamic values, so it is important to be aware of cultural norms when interacting with others. Some gestures that we may think innocuous could be considered offensive, such as crossing your legs in front of an elder. It is also important to dress conservatively in public.
- Caution for Solo Female Travelers. Women typically travel in groups of twos or threes in public. As a woman, you can travel alone as long as you dress conservatively, but it might be easier to travel with groups of women.