In Lebanon, history is literally around every corner. Castles built in the 12th century overlook Egyptian monuments and Roman artifacts, while maze-like old towns stand at the center of buzzing modern cities. In this country where the past and present often collide, learning opportunities abound. Whether you’re a history aficionado interested in some of the world’s oldest ruins, a linguist looking to perfect your Arabic, or just really enjoy a good spread of Lebanese mezze, to study abroad in Lebanon is the perfect way to learn more about the Middle East.
Where to Study Abroad in Lebanon
Despite its status as the smallest country on the Asian mainland, Lebanon has an outsized effect on the world, from its well-renowned cuisine to its central place in world history. Its placement along the Mediterranean means you can choose from lazy afternoons on the beach or adventurous weekends in the mountains (when you’re not practicing your Arabic over a cup of Turkish coffee with a local, that is!). Here are the best places to study abroad in Lebanon.
Most study abroad programs are located in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital city and its economic center. This multicultural city brings together people from all different backgrounds, and it’s likely you’ll encounter individuals speaking Arabic, French, or English while practicing Islam, Christianity, or one of Lebanon’s many other religions.
Beirut is home to both the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University, schools that welcome exchange students and are likely to be similar to American schools in their course structure and academic atmosphere. Once classes have wrapped up for the day, students can explore the stalls of the Beirut Souks in the newly rebuilt Central District, stroll the seafront on the Corniche Beirut, or check out the city’s famed nightlife on Hamra Street.
Popular Subjects to Study in Lebanon
Lebanon is at a crossroads of continents, religions, and languages, making it a fascinating place to study a variety of disciplines. Whether you’re studying ancient trading routes or learning about refugee management, in a country where straight-forward answers don’t always come easily, you’ll develop a nuanced regional understandings by studying these popular subjects.
While it’s possible to study nearly any subject at Lebanon’s universities, some fields lend themselves especially well to study abroad students. Those interested in perfecting their Arabic skills have two options to choose from, and can opt to study Modern Standard Arabic (written) or Colloquial Lebanese Arabic (spoken).
Students studying archaeology and art history will quickly realize that a semester or year isn’t nearly enough time to visit all of the ancient sites across the country, and political science majors will benefit from varied perspectives as they research current and past events both in the country and region.
Most programs run the length of a semester or during the summer break (June to August), and institutions typically observe both Muslim and Christian holidays. Courses are taught in English, French, or Arabic, depending on the specific program and institution.
Costs of Studying in Lebanon
Most study abroad programs are based in Beirut, and with big city living comes big city prices. While some costs may be higher than you’re used to, there are always ways to budget and make your experience more affordable. In Lebanon, it’s not difficult to spend all your money eating out, especially when there are platefuls of pita, hummus, and kibbeh calling.
Program fees typically only include tuition, and range from $3,000 for a six-week summer course to $9,000 for an entire semester. Lodging and transportation are usually separate, though many universities offer special rates for on-campus housing.
While it may take some effort, study abroad in Lebanon is certainly affordable. Start sending out applications for every scholarship you can find, and explore how you can apply your financial aid package to your program fees. If all else fails, ask other generous souls to help fund your dreams with FundMyTravel.
Accommodations in Lebanon
Students often have the option to live in a dorm on campus if they’re studying with a local university. These dorms are separated by gender and typically offer several options, including single or double bedrooms and shared or private bathrooms. Off-campus apartments are also available, though you may need to arrange this on your own. Local roommates are recommended, as they’re a great source of knowledge about the area and are potential new friends.
Students Visas for Lebanon
Citizens of many countries can obtain a visa on arrival in Lebanon, and you may not need more than a tourist visa if you are staying for a short period of time. Students who plan to spend a semester or more will likely need to obtain a student visa. It’s important to verify visa information with your study abroad program in advance. Find up-to-date information on student visas in Lebanon here.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Studying abroad in Lebanon is a fantastic way to learn about the history of the Middle East, from Roman empires and Phoenician ruins to Crusader castles and Ottoman rulers.
Locals enjoy playing host to visitors and make it their mission to fill stomachs, so plan on arriving hungry when invited to a local’s home. Getting to know those who live here will augment your studies, whether you’re focusing on Arabic grammar or regional social movements.
It is important to be aware of regional events and stay updated on changes in the security situation, as Lebanon’s location in the Middle East does make it vulnerable to sporadic violence. While many students study in Lebanon without any issue, it’s important to do some research before embarking on your stay so you’re aware of the risks and know how to proceed if issues arise.
Spending time here will certainly dispel many myths about the Middle East. While Lebanon’s long history has endured its share of bumps along the road, the country maintains a friendly atmosphere and its citizens welcome visitors with open arms (and tables full of food!).