A guide to studying in the Middle East

The Middle East is one of the fastest growing study abroad locations, as the number of students intending to pursue academic pursuits in Arabic-speaking countries has more than quadrupled since 2002. With thousands of years of ancient history, architecture stunning contemporary and ancient as well as friendly and welcoming locals, the The opportunities for personal and academic enrichment are endless

Why study in the Middle East?

Explore a widely misunderstood area

Many people fear the idea of ​​traveling to the Middle East, as news reports describe the horrors of war and political instability in terrifying detail, but the reality of life in most parts of the Middle East is vastly different and more complex than we might imagine. The countries of the Middle East encompass a wide range of diverse cultures and religions, and once you reach them you will realize that the preconceptions we hear on a daily basis have nothing to do with the actual experience of daily life.

Exceptional academic institutions

You will benefit from studying at prestigious and highly respected Middle Eastern universities, which are known for their advanced academic programs as well as for their stunning architecture, as well as for providing a dynamic and rich university life.

Learn and master different languages ​​of the Middle East

Fluency in Middle Eastern languages ​​is highly valued in today’s job market, as you will be able to study Arabic, Persian, Kurdish, and various regional dialects. The Arabic language and its dialects are particularly valued in Western labor markets, in both the public and private sectors.

Develop your own experience in local cultures

Relatively few American organizations have knowledge of the different cultures of the Middle East. As someone who has studied and lived among the local population, you will be in a position to understand the challenges of different business styles and political, philosophical and cultural norms.

Tuition costs in Turkey (annually in dollars)

the University Government education Private education
Bachelor (in Turkish) 240 – 750 5000 – 20000
Bachelor (in English) 450 – 1500 5000 – 20000
Masters (in Turkish) 600 – 900 5000 – 20000
Masters (in English) 300 – 600 5000 – 20000

Tuition costs in Cyprus

Study gender Annual cost (in EUR)
BSC 3500
Masters 2000-2500
PhD 2000-2500

Tuition costs in the United Arab Emirates

The costs of studying in the UAE vary according to your course, level of study and location. Tuition fees for postgraduate programs are often very expensive, but the cost of programs varies widely depending on the type and length of study. Fees can cost between 48,000 dirhams ($ 13,424) to 120,450 dirhams ($ 33,688).

Tuition costs in Egypt

The costs of studying in Egypt are relatively average and vary according to the region, the desired program, and the type of university, given that there are many foreign universities in Egypt. Generally the cost of undergraduate studies for undergraduate programs ranges from $ 1,254 to $ 8,360 per year. For postgraduate (master’s and doctoral) fees, the fees range from $ 1,800 to $ 8,000.

The cost of living in the Middle East

The cost of living in Turkey

Expenses Cost (in dollars)
A meal in a restaurant 3.09
Soft drinks 0.54
beer 1.98
Water (0.33 liter) 0.18
Milk (1 liter) 0.70
Rice (one kilo) 1.50
Eggs (12 eggs) 1.42
Cigarettes (20 cigarettes) 2.22
Bus ticket (one time) 0.43
Bus ticket (monthly subscription) 25
Ticket (1 km) 0.43
A movie ticket at the cinema 3.09
Apartment in the city center 196.70
Apartment outside the city center 123.30

The cost of living in Cyprus

Expenses Cost (in dollars)
A meal in a restaurant 14.19
Soft drinks 1.77
beer 3.55
Water (0.33 liter) 0.76
Milk (1 liter) 1.61
Rice (one kilo) 1.93
Eggs (12 eggs) 3.19
Cigarettes (20 cigarettes) 5.79
Bus ticket (one time) 1.77
Bus ticket (monthly subscription) 47.30
Ticket (1 km) 1.18
A movie ticket at the cinema 1.64
Apartment in the city center 668.59
Apartment outside the city center 550

The cost of living in Lebanon

Expenses Cost (in dollars)
A meal in a restaurant 10.58
Soft drinks 1.6
beer 4.00
Water (0.33 liter) 0.67
Milk (1 liter) 3.03
Rice (one kilo) 2.81
Eggs (12 eggs) 4.66
Cigarettes (20 cigarettes) 3.97
Bus ticket (one time) 1.42
Bus ticket (monthly subscription) 69
Ticket (1 km) 2.00
A movie ticket at the cinema 10.01
Apartment in the city center 809.53
Apartment outside the city center 403.24

Living costs in the United Arab Emirates

Expenses Cost (in dollars)
A meal in a restaurant 8.17
Soft drinks 0.95
beer 10.89
Water (0.33 liter) 0.39
Milk (1 liter) 1.58
Rice (one kilo) 1.89
Eggs (12 eggs) 2.63
Cigarettes (20 cigarettes) 5.99
Bus ticket (one time) 1.36
Bus ticket (monthly subscription) 68.06
Ticket (1 km) 0.54
A movie ticket at the cinema 10.89
Apartment in the city center 1294
Apartment outside the city center 854.38

The cost of living in Egypt

Expenses Cost (in dollars)
A meal in a restaurant 3.82
Soft drinks 0.35
beer 1.91
Water (0.33 liter) 0.22
Milk (1 liter) 0.23
Rice (one kilo) 0.73
Eggs (12 eggs) 1.16
Cigarettes (20 cigarettes) 2.71
Bus ticket (one time) 0.32
Bus ticket (monthly subscription) 12.74
Ticket (1 km) 0.19
A movie ticket at the cinema 5.10
Apartment in the city center 199.13
Apartment outside the city center 118.05

Conditions of study in the Middle East

mastering English language

All higher education programs in English in the Middle East require a high level of language. Applicants for undergraduate and postgraduate programs taught in English must demonstrate their proficiency in it.

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To demonstrate proficiency in the English language, the TOEFL, IELTS and CAE language tests are used as main evidence and recognized certificates. To fulfill the language requirement, the student must obtain a minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS exam, or a score between 550 – 583 on the TOEFL exam.

Satisfy the educational requirements and the required documents

A student applying for a university program in the Middle East is required to submit the following documents:

  • Fill out the application form, which you can find on the university’s website.
  • Officially certified copies of high school and university diplomas.
  • If the requested original documents are not in English, they must be translated into English or the language of the destination country by a sworn official translator.
  • Certified copy of Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the original language.
  • A copy of the secondary school certificate in the original language.
  • To study doctoral programs, you generally need to have a master’s degree that is recognized in Middle Eastern countries or equivalent.

What are the conditions for a student visa (study visa) to the Middle East?

Students from do not need a the European Union visa to enter eastern Mediterranean countries, while students outside those borders need a study visa (visa) that allows them to stay on its territory for a specific period according to the length of study. In order to obtain a visa in general, you must present the following documents:

  • Four copies of a valid passport.
  • A copy of the university admission letter you obtained.
  • A copy of a medical report confirming that you are free from all communicable and contagious diseases.
  • A criminal record statement (not sentenced) certified by the embassy of the destination country in your country or from the country closest to you.
  • A copy of the receipt of payment of the study visa fees.
  • A copy of your flight reservation ticket to and from the destination country.
  • A bank statement confirming your ability to bear the costs of living and studying there.

Scholarships to study in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

  • Effat University Scholarships : A group of scholarships, including academic and non-academic, to cover tuition fees for outstanding students of all nationalities (for more information click here ).
  • Alfaisal University Scholarships : Scholarships based on excellence and merit to study in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (for more information, click here ).
  • Saudi Government Scholarships for Non-Saudis : It offers a variety of internal and external scholarships for non-Saudi applicants. Full and partially funded scholarships are also available, in addition to paid scholarships (for more information, click here ).

Scholarships to study in Jordan

The Jordanian government is striving to increase the number of scholarships for international students to encourage study in Jordan and to commit to a plan to raise the number of international students in Jordan to 7,000 this year. Scholarship options in Jordan are limited to some Arab nationalities, and most of them are cultural exchange grants with partner and friendly countries.

Scholarships to study in Egypt

There are many scholarships available in Egypt, and they vary between public universities and private universities, including:

  • The American University in Cairo Scholarships : Available for students who demonstrate academic excellence and financial need for the scholarship (for more information, click here ).
  • Nile Basin Scholarships (from Alexandria University) : This scholarship covers tuition fees only for the 3-year master’s stage and the 5-year doctoral stage (for more information click here )
  • There are many other scholarships, but they are limited in funding and specializations. You can visit this link to view the various grants offered by Egyptian universities to study in Egypt and the dates for applying to them.

Scholarships to study in Turkey

  • Sabanci University Graduate Scholarships: Full scholarships for masters or doctoral students at “Sabanci” University, including tuition fee waiver. The university is also presenting the international “Sakıp Sabancı” award for international researchers (for more information click here ).
  • Turkish Government Scholarships for International Students : Various Turkish scholarships for international students wishing to study in Turkey . The scholarship is open to students of all levels, although restrictions may apply to each scholarship (for more information click here ).

Scholarships to study in Cyprus

  • Neapolis University Scholarships : This scholarship is intended for undergraduate students to study civil engineering majors in all its departments at Neapolis University. The scholarship covers 25 to 50 percent of the university tuition costs (for more information click here ).
  • Cyprus Institute Scholarships for Distinguished Students : The Cyprus Institute offers scholarships for distinguished international students wishing to complete their PhD studies in the fields of energy, environment, computational sciences and technology, and geosciences and atmosphere. This scholarship covers all tuition fees, living costs, and health insurance (for more information click here ).
  • Cyprus International Institute Scholarship : This scholarship is aimed specifically at management students, to complete their undergraduate studies in the first or postgraduate studies. The institute offers seven fully funded scholarships worth 82,000 euros per year, in addition to 50 partial scholarships (for more information click here ).

Student housing in the Middle East

The majority of university housing sites are located within the university campus, which gives it importance and ease in facilitating students’ access to universities without having to walk, as it provides students with a modern, comfortable and safe environment for an enjoyable student life.

The university residence is divided into apartments, and each apartment includes a shared living room furnished with a TV and a well-equipped kitchen with all necessary kitchen amenities.

The en suite rooms feature an in-room bathroom (shower, sink and toilet), bed, study desk, chair and wardrobe. It also contains rooms for exercise, mini-conference rooms, in addition to reading and study rooms.

At the entrance to the university residence, there are guards and surveillance cameras in order to protect students, monitor the movement of visitors and ensure student safety, in addition to a Wi-Fi network spread on all floors at excellent speed.

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Can I work during the study period?

Many students in the Middle East hold a part-time job. As an international student in a Middle Eastern country, you will also have the right to work during your stay, but only if you do not exceed a maximum of 20 working hours per week. You will also have the opportunity to search for a full-time job after you graduate from university.

There is nothing that distinguishes working in the countries of the Middle East for foreign students, as they are similar to many countries, as most of them are limited to:

  • Work in cafes and restaurants.
  • delivery.
  • Newspaper distribution.
  • Work at the university on tasks related to student organizations.

Visit the ancient city of Kourion (Cyprus)

It overlooks the countryside and the sea, as it has a charming sea view of the Mediterranean Sea, and it is one of the ancient cities that thousands of tourists visit annually. It contains many ancient Byzantine churches as well as a house (Eustolios), which includes a collection of beautiful ornate mosaics, in addition to many theaters decorated with ancient mosaic floors as well.

Pyramids of Giza (Egypt)

One of the first places you should definitely visit, not only as a student but as a tourist as well. These are located pyramids at a distance from the capital Cairo and date back 4000 years and perhaps the most famous landmark there is the statue of “Great Sphinx”.

Petra (Jordan)

Some consider it the best place for tourism, as this city is located behind a curtain of tall mountains and is characterized by inscriptions and ancient monuments.

Golf practice (Turkey)

Turkey also offers first-class golf at some of the most magnificent courses in the world. The country quickly developed a lot of landmarks by creating some wonderful green spaces, which can be enjoyed throughout the year, thanks to the mild winters and hot summers in Turkey.

Are Middle Eastern Countries Safe?


Egypt is like other Arab countries exposed to political events, and with the exception of the events of 2011 and their aftermath, it can be said that the security situation in Egypt is good and there is no fear of traveling to Egypt and studying there. In addition, all university cities are fully secured and surrounded by walls and guards.
If you want to live in a private residence outside the university campus, then the issue of safety becomes a personal matter. But in general, there is nothing to cause fear in Egypt.

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Lebanon is not a war zone as it is rumored, but it is certainly not the safest option. International students looking to study in Lebanon should be aware of recent terrorist attacks in the country and general instability. Students are advised to remain vigilant and avoid any active or frequent conflict areas. You should carry your photo ID with you at all times, and check the latest travel advice from your country.

The United Arab Emirates

The UAE is very safe and the crime rate is very low, but nevertheless, caution must be taken as it is a tourist country in the end, and personal safety measures must be taken to avoid pickpockets who may be found in tourist places in it, in addition to taking into account that it is an Islamic country that derives many of its laws from Islamic Sharia. Which must be taken into account during your stay there at least, despite that the UAE is one of the Islamic countries most open, tolerant and respectful of individual freedom.


Cyprus is a divided country with a long history of bitter conflict. The island of Cyprus is known as the jewel of the Mediterranean, but it is also plagued by a history of bitter conflict between Turkey and Greece. Both of these countries have sought to claim the island, without any apparent outcome. Now Cyprus remains a divided country, with parts of the region allotted to both the Turks and the Greeks. But in general, it is a safe country for tourists, with almost no murders and looting.


Turkey is one of the safest and most secure countries in the world, as it is the destination for all tourists to spend their tourist holidays in it, thanks to the security and stability that prevails throughout Turkey. You will notice the friendliness of the police patrols before the locals in the country.

The health system in the countries of the Middle East


To obtain sufficient and confirmed information, it is necessary to increase the website of your embassy in Egypt to make sure of the vaccinations that must be taken before entering Egypt. Universities also require their students to take an AIDS test before entering Egypt. With regard to hospitals, there are private and public

The United Arab Emirates

The health system in the United Arab Emirates is very efficient and is considered one of the best in the region, but health care in public centers is free for citizens only, so foreign students coming to the UAE must obtain health insurance from private centers, of which there are many in various parts of the country, and they can Also, use of public centers after obtaining a special card from the UAE Ministry of Health, and it will certainly not be free.


All international students coming to Turkey must obtain health insurance to ensure their safety throughout their stay there. There are two types of health insurance, which is either going to any private health insurance agency and benefiting from all health guarantees intended for foreigners, but the coverage of this insurance is limited and is only effective in hospitals that are contracted with the insurance company.

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Cyprus health insurance is mandatory for all students throughout their stay in Cyprus for students outside the borders of the European Union. Cyprus medical insurance covers all emergency medical costs in Cyprus and around the world (except for the United States and Canada), and also covers emergency medical benefits (illness and accidents), in addition to the ability to return you to your home country if necessary, as well as insurance for an ambulance. Air, sea, land and billing of medication expenses, and search and rescue teams.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Health Law works to ensure complete health care for all people, in a fair and accessible manner, and health care services are provided to more than 31 million citizens and residents, in addition to several million visitors during Hajj and Umrah through medical cities, specialized hospitals, universities and primary care centers.

Foreign health care

Saudi hospitals provide all treatment supplies to everyone without exception and in all cases, and whether the treatment is for a Saudi citizen or for a foreign resident, especially in critical cases such as traffic accidents, fractures, burns, and suffocation. In 2005, compulsory health insurance was issued for non-Saudis who work in the Kingdom under the Cooperative Health Insurance Law.

Difficulties of foreign students in the Middle East

Culture shock

You will meet many people of different races and nationalities, and at first it will be difficult for you to adapt to their customs and traditions. Opinions may differ with many students, but the important thing here is to accept the opinions and ideas of others and try to adapt and coexist with them quickly by attending many popular events and events in the destination country.

Learning language

The language of learning in private universities is English or French. Unfortunately, there are many professors who do not speak these two languages​​as a foreign language, and therefore you will face difficulty in receiving the information.

The difficulty of the Arabic language

For non-Arab students, the main problem will be the Arabic language and the difficulty of learning it. Arabic is not only used as a study language in speaking countries, but also as a language used in everyday life.

the food

Each country has its own food style, but you do not need to worry as you will find most of the usual foods in the supermarkets. As for oriental food, it will be available, but at a bit high prices.


The countries of the Middle East are characterized by hot weather and high temperatures in most of their regions in the summer, while they witness the opposite in the winter


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