For all the international controversy stemming from Palestine’s complex relationship with Israel, we should not lose sight that this de facto Middle Eastern state is home to a thriving culture and rich historical legacy. Curious international students who study abroad in Palestine will gain exposure to a dynamic region that has for decades been at center of the global spotlight. Palestine is a highly talked about state in popular media, but the only way to truly discover it is to go there and experience it for yourself.
Palestine lays territorial claim to both the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the Middle East, with East Jerusalem serving as the de facto capital. These two regions are isolated from one another geographically, currently embedded in the larger nation of Israel. There are nearly 5 million citizens living in the various urban and rural areas throughout the state of Palestine.
Hebron, a city with just over 200,000 citizens located in the southern region of the West Bank, is one possible destination where you can study abroad in Palestine. Hebron is Palestine’s second largest city (after Gaza) and is considered a holy city in both Judaism and Islam because of its ancient significance. Currently an important commercial hub as well, Hebron is home to a handful of universities such as Hebron University and Palestine Polytechnic University.
Nablus is another major destination where many international students decide to study abroad in Palestine. An ancient city located just 30 miles north of Jerusalem, Nablus is a major a economic and cultural hub of Palestine, and is also home to one of the state’s most prestigious academic institutions in An-Najah National University.
Subjects & Courses
While local universities will offer you the opportunity to take your pick from a wide array of general academic fields, many international students travel to Palestine with the explicit intention of learning more about the state’s complex history and dynamic regional context. Middle Eastern studies, history, and Arabic are all examples of such fields you can explore while you study abroad in Palestine that can give you a deeper appreciation of its current state of affairs.
Because it is currently afflicted as a conflict zone as well, many students also choose to study abroad in Palestine within fields such as international diplomacy, interreligious relations, and conflict studies. The international community has been seeking for a workable solution to Palestinian-Israeli tensions for decades, and this can be a great way for future policy makers to learn a lot while engaging with the issues firsthand.
While Palestinian universities will generally utilize Arabic as the language of instruction, it is nevertheless possible for students to find a variety of English-speaking programs tailored specifically to international students as well. You can typically choose to study abroad in Palestine year-round, with programs being offered during summer session, fall or spring semesters, and for the full academic year.
Scholarships & Costs
While not astoundingly cheap, costs of living in Palestine are generally more affordable than in many other industrialized nations where you might study abroad. There is a fairly significant fluctuation in prices between different regions in Palestine as well. If program fees (which often encompass tuition, housing, and other such expenses) are of a concern, then check out our Scholarship Directory to learn more about available financial aid opportunities for international students in the region.
Accommodation & Visas
You will usually be able to choose between a variety of different housing options while you study abroad in Palestine. Homestays are one popular form of accommodation among international students, allowing you the unique opportunity to immerse yourself intimately within Palestinian family life. Individual apartments or flats are also often made available for more independently driven students.
What type of visa you will need to obtain in order to study abroad in Palestine will come down to factors such as your home country, the length of your stay, and whether you are studying abroad in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip. Generally foreign nationals will be expected to abide by the same visa regulations that Israel imposes; for more information you can consult our Palestinian Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Firsthand Knowledge. Many people hear about Palestine in the news, but few will ever have the opportunity to travel here and experience the country firsthand. It is a tremendous learning and growth experience in a very important region.
Arabic Immersion. Studying abroad in Palestine is a tremendous opportunity to experience Arabic culture and also develop a greater knowledge of the language, which is becoming one of the world’s most important to know.
Bold Adventure. Being a hotspot of geopolitical tension, studying abroad in Palestine is not for the feint of heart. The undertaking will be an adventure in which you learn a whole lot about the world and also about yourself.