Work and Travel in Lebanon
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN LEBANON FOR TRAVELLERS
Lebanon’s position on the Mediterranean coast, and its cheap flights from Europe, make this a growing backpacking destination. There are lots of things to do in Lebanon and one of the world’s most ancient lands make this a perfect place to travel in.
This is easy to get to, but beware that this is not a country filled with resorts. It’s a nation recently afflicted by war and an influx of thousands of refugees from neighbouring Syria.
But work and travel in Lebanon can make your experience that much more meaningful. Our travel guide to Lebanon (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/lebanon) is going to show you everything you need to know about your upcoming trip.
1. Help the Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
Lebanon has the unfortunate distinction of housing the largest number of refugees in the world, relative to its population. Volunteers are always welcome to work in Lebanon. Most organisations want people who are qualified with professional experience, but there are options for backpackers looking for volunteering opportunities in Lebanon.
You should apply well in advance of your trip as these positions have a lot of competition and may even require further questions before you get a decision.
But getting accepted means that you can help refugees on the ground and support them in their hour of need. There are few other jobs that are more rewarding.
2. Teach English in Lebanon
As you travel in Lebanon you’ll meet few people teaching English there. Whilst this is not a traditional destination for people who want to teach English, schools do exist.
Native English speakers are usually not required to have any form of teaching qualification. However, if you want to work in more formal conditions, you should possess at least a TEFL qualification.
Working on a private basis, which may be combined as a homestay, is better if you lack any qualifications.
3. Clean Up the Mountains of Lebanon
Lebanon’s environment has taken a beaten in recent years because of the war with Israel and the recent influx of refugees from Syria. One of the big problems for the environment is the number of cartridges from weapons and the amount of war debris left behind.
Unfortunately, the Lebanese government lacks the resources to do much about it. That’s why charities are enlisting volunteers to help clean up the environment.
You’ll have the chance to experience Lebanon’s rugged nature and protect it for future generations at the same time.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR LEBANON
To start with, Lebanon bans all travellers with evidence of visiting Israel (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Lebanon.html). This is easy to avoid because Israel no longer offers stamps, but you’ll need a new passport if you crossed over the King Allenby bridge between Jordan and Israel as this border post continues to provide stamps. Do remember to take off the yellow security sticker given by Israeli security staff (https://www.qt.com.au/news/want-total-travel-freedom-avoid-a-passport-stamp-f/3361447/).
Most countries have the ability to travel in Lebanon without a visa for 90 days (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/lebanon/entry-requirements). You don’t need to do anything other than collect your stamp. This applies to all citizens of Europe, North America, Russia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, and even China.
Take note that many countries in Africa, including South Africa, must obtain a visa from a Lebanese embassy and obtain immigration approval prior to travel.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN LEBANON
Lebanon enjoys the classic Mediterranean climate, with spring being warm and pleasant. This is the ideal season for travel in Lebanon.
There are lots of volunteering opportunities in Lebanon in spring because practically everything is available. You can work with refugees, teach, choose a homestay, or take part in an environmental programme.
There’s little that isn’t available if you work and travel in Lebanon in spring.
The summer season is one where you’ll experience extremely hot temperatures. We recommend that you move to the mountain areas to avoid the worst of the heat.
For this reason, helping with the environmental clean-up in the mountains is a fantastic option. Alternatives could include working in a school or working in an orphanage in urban Beirut, or one of the other major cities.
There are also hostels in Lebanon. It’s possible to volunteer in these hostels in exchange for free food and accommodation. Unsurprisingly, Beirut is the centre for this type of work.
The autumn is pleasant, just like spring. Again, you can enjoy a range of volunteer opportunities in Lebanon. We recommend referring back to the ‘Spring’ section to find out more about some of the activities you can involve yourself in at this time of year.
Winter in Lebanon is colder than you might think. It’s not uncommon for Lebanon to receive large amounts of snow in the mountains during winter.
There are even ski resorts in Lebanon, which are open for about three months per year. You’ll be able to work in the ski resorts if you have prior experience. Just make sure you apply for these positions well in advance as the majority of ski resorts prefer to have their staff already in place before the season actually begins.
Whilst you can volunteer with Syrian refugees any time of the year, we strongly recommend doing this in winter. This is the most difficult time for them and volunteers are needed in winter more than ever.
Again, try to apply some months in advance as these organisations like to have their teams in place well in advance of the beginning of winter.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN LEBANON
Lebanon is a delightful country that has a mix of Middle Eastern and European cultures. Tourists have become far more common in recent years, so the locals are far more used to meeting backpackers than they were before.
The only thing you need to be aware of is that there’s a lot of poverty in this country and the ongoing feud with Israel remains. Try not to bring up Palestine or Israel as a friendly conversation can quickly turn nasty. Remember, only a decade ago Beirut was in ruins.
Are you ready to work and travel in Lebanon?
- Edited on Dec 6 2018 by Marichka