Work and Travel in Syria
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN SYRIA FOR TRAVELLERS
Syria has always been in the news for almost a whole decade now. As a winner in the brutal civil war appears to have become apparent, it’s time to pick up the pieces of a country that has lost four million of its population over the course of the conflict.
Work and travel in Syria is not the vacation combined with some work that it often is in other countries. You are going into an active war zone and you need to be on your guard and willing to work hard at all times.
Our travel guide (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/syria) to Syria is going to introduce you to all the different projects available in the country.
1. Become a Medical Worker in Syria
Trained medical workers, or interns looking to become doctors, are always needed in Syria. This sort of work in Syria focuses on healing the sick from war wounds. Often, you’ll be dealing with people who have been shot or blown up by both sides.
There’s also dealing with malnutrition and other diseases that have spread as a result of poor living conditions throughout the war. It’s a difficult way to travel in Syria, but you’ll be saving lives regardless of the position you’re in.
2. Help the Locals to Rebuild in Syria
Syria’s infrastructure has been largely destroyed, with the exceptions of parts of Damascus and some coastal areas. People who have decided to return to the country need help to rebuild their lives again.
Rebuilding homes and infrastructure is a rewarding way to aid the population in getting back to some semblance of a normal life.
You’ll be expected to work hard and deal with difficult conditions, but these volunteering opportunities in Syria are an excellent way of supporting local people.
3. Educate Children in Syria
One of the long-term impacts of the war is that so many children have missed out on vital schooling. Forced to survive and support their families, they have not received the education expected of them. But that is starting to change as international charities step in in order to plug the gap.
Whether it’s a makeshift school in a refugee camp or a newly reopened school in a major town or city, anyone with experience in the education sector will be welcomed.
Teachers are demanded to support children of all ages in resuming their education.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR SYRIA
As a result of the war, every nationality now requires a visa or a permit to enter the country. Many embassies are either not active or are not offering visas. You must be able to demonstrate that there’s a real need for you in many embassies. Some tourists have travelled to the country, but they usually require fixers and a heavy fee. For more info click here.
Fixers can be used, but if you’re working with a major international organization this won’t be necessary as you’ll already have visa support.
You should make sure you have work in Syria before you apply for a visa. Full visa support will enable you to get the visa and permit you need to operate legally in the country.
Thankfully, the vast majority of international volunteering opportunities in Syria come with this visa support, as it’s a problem everyone faces.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN SYRIA
Syria has two seasons. With its Mediterranean climate, you can expect to get pleasant temperatures in spring. It’s one of the best times of year to travel in Syria.
Many volunteers don’t get much choice over exactly where they’ll be stationed by the international organizations funding them. However, if you do get a choice, many people prefer to go to the urban areas, as the heat isn’t as oppressive.
You can work in cities like Aleppo, Homs, and the capital Damascus as an educator, an infrastructure builder, or as a medical intern. Some charities also specialize in working in the cities helping to reunite family members who were separated during the war.
The summer season is hot and difficult to work outside in. Again, you likely won’t get the luxury of choice when it comes to these volunteering opportunities in Syria, but if you can it’s wise to work on the coastline.
The coastline isn’t as hot and far more pleasant. NGOs situated here often work with the vast seas of refugees stationed in camps near and across the Lebanese border.
Here you’ll be working to provide basic services, such as education, healthcare, and helping to hand out supplies to the people there. The conditions are difficult but you’ll be working with some of the most afflicted people of the country.
The autumn season is much like the spring season. You should refer back to the ‘Spring’ section for more information on some of the things you can do in autumn.
Winter can become bitterly cold in Syria. This is when a lot of displaced peoples die. Work accelerates on providing homeless Syrians with the warmth and food they need to survive the winter. This is especially the case as you move towards the Iraq border.
All the other volunteering opportunities in Syria, described above, are valid and available during the winter season.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN SYRIA
It may seem like most of the work in Syria is the same, but that’s because many of the traditional volunteering projects are simply unavailable because of the state of the country. Work is largely available throughout the year, due to the conditions.
Syrians remain some of the friendliest people in the world and are delighted to see foreigners back in the country. They are grateful for the help.
Just make sure that you obey the Islamic customs of the country and avoid discussing politics, particularly when it comes to the role of President Assad and the rebels. Opinions are heavily polarised and are not like you see in the Western media.
Do you have what it takes to work and travel in Syria?