The birthplace of the three prominent monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the Middle East has always been a place of great devotion and spirituality. The historical contributions of the Middle East are difficult to measure but are impossible to ignore. This place is home to some of the world’s most significant cities, such as Jerusalem and Baghdad. The area is divided into 18-38 different dependencies (depending on the definition).
Today the Middle East stands as an economic giant in a world run on fossil fuels. A good part of the world’s economy is based in the Middle East, making the region just as important now as it was ages hundreds of years in the past. The region still carries the mysterious aura of the East which dingles with a sense of adventure. Middle East’s cultural diversity and unique landscape make it a great place to study abroad and experience an entirely different culture and climate hands-on.
If history, religion or anything in the humanities is even vaguely of interest to you, you will find the Middle East to be one of the most fascinating places on the Earth. You will have the opportunity to visit the ancient ruins of Palmyra in the Syrian Desert, visit the holy city of Jerusalem and indulge yourself in eye-candy while examining the ancient architecture of Esfahan, Iran. You will have a chance to travel through the desert on a camel’s back, spend a night in a cave hotel, and buy a Persian rug from a real Persian rug merchant!
When to Go
The Middle East is associated with hot and dry climate; so the summer months can sometimes get unbearable hot; if you are looking to avoid the heat wave, plan to travel during a cooler season. If you are looking for the ultimate cultural experience, then travel during the Spring season to experience Ramadan, a period of great religious devotion.
The Middle East is responsible for some of the most important discoveries ever made by humans – many of which are in the fields of mathematics and physical science. Even though the Middle East is no longer considered the intellectual capital of the world, you can still find great programs all over, but more importantly, the lessons you learn here mostly lay outside the scope of the university.
Tel Aviv University, Israel http://www.tau.ac.il/index-eng.html
King Saud University, Saudi Arabia: http://www.ksu.edu.sa/Pages/default.aspx