Mind the Gap – Part 3: The Middle East

The Middle East might not seem like an obvious choice for a Gap Year. There’s a lot in the news about unrest. But it’s a big place, with plenty of safe destinations if you do a little homework. So there’s plenty to consider – and once again we’ve divided them into Job or Jolly – depending on the style of break you want to take on your Gap Year.

On the jolly front – countries like Dubai, Abu-Dabi and Qatar are building up reputations as go-to places for western visitors. On the job or volunteering side things aren’t so clear cut – but the opportunities are there if you know where to look. Here we go then with our Gap Year Guide to the middle East…


The middle east is a place rich in history and culture. So if learning about other fascinating civilisations is more your Gap Year thing than spending a couple of months on a mediterranean party island, it’s a region that’s well worth considering.

A Jaunt in Jordan

Jordan is not likely to be the first country that springs to mind when you think of the middle east but it has a lot to offer the adventurous traveller. The ancient ‘Lost City’ of Petra (or AL Batra in Arabic) is a centrepiece – carved out of rock cliffs around 300 BC – it is understandably a UNESCO World Heritage Site and included as one of the 7 modern wonders of the world. Despite being one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, Jordan’s capital Amman has built a reputation as a modern Arabian city. You’ll be able to take in all-authentic arabian food, art, culture, markets and mosques.

A full 10 week immersion of The Fertile Crescent (Jordan and surrounding areas) itinerary wheretheybedragons offer a student-focussed semester including home-stays with rural bedouin tribes and instruction in the colloquial dialects of Arabic. Whilst the course is closed for Autumn 2015, dates are available from February to May 2016.

Walk like an Egyptian

Of the 7 Wonders of the ancient world – there’s one left still in existence. Unsurprisingly they also make it into the 7 Modern Wonders of the World. The Great Pyramids at Giza are Egypt’s most famous architectural relic – but by no means the only one. Think of them as the biggest jewel in a very ornate crown. Thebes Temple at Luxor – long with the respective Valley’s of Kings and Queens are another must see, whist the bustling market streets of Aswan – which gave its name to the famous Dam) and the unfinished obelisk, are a must to sample a more authentic Egypt.


You might think that working in the middle east is a more difficult proposition – and there’s some truth in that. With its more volatile reputation, the region is not as generally as popular with organised volunteering organisations as the African or Asian continents. But delve deeper and there are opportunities to be found.

The Write Way Round

Xtreme Gap Year are offering aspiring journalists the chance to be a travel correspondent by joining their overseas correspondence team. You will be paid for content that is good enough to be published on their blogs – whilst and revenue generated from more lucrative publishing in Newspapers or new media publishers will be split 60/40 in your favour.

Whilst it isn’t risk free – if you are confident that you have the abilities to be the next Simon Calder – it could be your stepping stone into a career travelling the globe.

Don’t forget: if you are jetting off on your travels for a prolonged period of time and will need somewhere to store all the stuff you aren’t taking with you – then a storage unit with us is safe and secure.


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