International Politics in the Middle East

College Life in the Jordan Valley

Reflect on the differences between where you grew up or where you live now and where and how people live in your sub-region of concentration. Some factors to consider here are the universal and the particular, environment and culture.

Being a college student in Palestine, from a statistical lens, looks very different from being a college student in the United States. In Palestine only 11% of students attend higher education due to widespread economic barriers. Additionally, an inability to pay off loans in Palestine makes you unable to receive your degree, leaving many students poor and unemployed, due to an inability to receive their education certificate. (Palestine Chronicle) From a categorial lens, Palestinian education is similar to the US, the education received if able is well-rounded and often includes the ability to study abroad. In the past few years student activism has been an incredibly important part of Palestinian and Israeli student life in response to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Colleges have been a safe haven for free speech in response to the conflict as while public officials often condemn these protests, colleges have defended the students participating.

Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestine students protest at Ben Gurion University in Negev.

However, in Israel obtaining a college degree seems statistically similar to what you would see in the United States. 46% of Israeli adults hold a college degree compared to the United States 45.7% (Forbes), making Israel one of the most educated nations in the world.

Princess Salma and King Abdullah and Queen Rania at her graduation from USC in 2023

A Google search of ‘college student in Jordan’ yields results raving about the rich culture and amazing student life there. It, like Israel, is also a nation that attracts many study-abroad students from around the globe. However, it is hard to find any statistics on undergraduate education in Jordan, likely due to the mostly state-owned media system and intense red-lining in the state. (BBC) Something that may be telling is the royal family of Jordan’s decision to send their daughter, Princess Salma, to USC where she graduated in 2023. (People)

While college life appears to be similar on the surface in the Jordan Valley, the ability to attain higher education is certainly more difficult in the region. Additionally, students are not apathetic to the tensions in the region and they have a profound effect on their lives as students.



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