Higher Education in Palestinian Territories
In spite of its turbulent past, today the Palestinian Territories is a great place to pursue an education, especially for those interested in becoming immersed in Arabic culture. Education across all age levels is overseen by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education, and enrollment is high compared to enrollment in universities around the world. Education is a high priority among the youth of the Palestinian Territories, and literacy rates are over 90 percent. This fact, combined with the rich Arabic culture, makes it an excellent place to consider studying. Most courses are taught in Arabic, with Arabic language courses included for international students.
The Academic Year
Because the Palestinian Territories is a Muslim country, the academic year often follows the Islamic religious calendar, with holidays during major religious holidays. The academic year is typically divided into two semesters, with the option for a summer term. The fall semester runs from August until November, with the spring term beginning in late January through the middle of April. The summer term starts in the middle of June and runs through the beginning of August.
Tuition and Duration of Higher Education Degrees
Most universities in Palestine offer a four-year bachelor's degree, or equivalent, and a two-year masters program. These may be shorter or longer depending on how many hours the students choose to take. The cost will vary from one university to the next, but courses are around $600 per course.
Possibilities for International Students
Universities in the Palestinian Territories readily welcome foreign students. To make it easier, several universities have programs specifically designed for international students. After graduation, these students will be well-versed in Arabic language and culture, and will be in a good position to pursue research programs or jobs in industries that are connected to the Arabic culture.
The Palestinian territories are the areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that have historically been occupied by the Palestinian people. While the government of the area has been in long dispute, switching between Palestinian control and Israeli control over the years, much of it is now ruled by a unified government under the Palestinian Authority.
Today, the Palestinian Territories consist of two areas, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The specific boundaries of these areas have been in flux over the years, with much fighting along the borders. The Palestinian Territories are unique in that they are almost entirely within the country of Israel, but function somewhat as a separate country.
Palestine is known for its strong embracing of the Muslim religion and culture. The people of Palestine are friendly, welcoming and helpful to out-of-country visitors. Modest dress, fierce religious devotion and a highly Arabic culture are what students will discover when studying in Palestine.
What is life like for students who choose to study in the Palestinian Territories? Here is what a student can expect.
Because of its location in the Middle East, the Palestinian Territories has a mild to hot Mediterranean climate. Rain is rare, and student swill find lightweight clothing is the most comfortable. However, when the sun goes down, particularly in the winter months, it can get quite cold.
Because of the number of civilizations that have called the land that is now Palestine home, it has a diverse cultural scene today. While modern Palestine is influenced strongly by the Muslim religion, the architecture, folklore and cooking of the area also embrace much of its cultural history. Both because of the country's heritage and its religious influences, clothing is modest, with long sleeves worn by both genders and headdresses common for women.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in the Palestinian Territories is moderate compared to the rest of the world. Students will find most modern conveniences are available, but some things, like fast food service, will be more expensive than in other areas. Rent is lower than much of the world, which is good news for students looking for a place to live. Students will find that major cities provide quality healthcare options, but private insurance is important to ensure access and affordability.
Student visas are given out by the various colleges that embrace foreign students. Student visas are typically given for three-year periods, and the fees are built into the registration fees for international students.
When traveling in Palestinian Territories, students need to be careful about their safety. Traveling in groups will help prevent problems, and staying away from areas with military unrest is also important. Protests and fighting against warring factions can occur in this country, and with little warning, so students need to be careful to protect their safety at all times.