Moving to Jordan
Sitting in a strategic location at the crossroads of what Jews, Christians and Muslims call the ‘Holy Land’ and home to one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Jordan remains a popular expat destination in the Middle East.
Phosphate mines in southern Jordan have made the country one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of this mineral, while agricultural produce is another large contributor to the economy. There are also many international software and hardware IT companies present in the capital, Amman, which is the national and regional hub in communications, transport, education and investment. Consequently, most expats living in Jordan are located in Amman.
Expats in Jordan tend to work for international organisations and multinational companies in the finance, media, development and oil and gas sectors. Some expats also move to Jordan to work in the educational sector.
Most of Jordan’s population of nearly 8 million is Muslim, and expats should be aware that Islam is the state religion. Nevertheless, Jordan is one of the most liberal countries in the Middle East and expats are unlikely to face discrimination for practising a religion other than Islam. Expats should, however, practice respect for local customs and etiquette – women in particular should dress modestly and preferably wear their hair up or cover it with a headscarf. This will also lessen the chance of attracting unwanted attention, particularly from fascinated Jordanian men unused to having Western women around.
Jordanians are well-known for being friendly, warm and welcoming to foreigners. Arabic is the official language of Jordan but most Jordanians can speak English, and expats should not have a problem communicating in professional settings and business dealings, particularly in Amman. Still, expats are likely to experience some level of culture shock, particularly if they are not from another Middle Eastern country.
Expats moving to Jordan need not worry about their health. The country has one of the best healthcare systems in the Middle East, with both private and public medical facilities providing a high standard of care. Most doctors are proficient in English and have been educated abroad, and the country is becoming a popular regional medical tourism hotspot.
Jordan has a high literacy rate and the government views education as a priority. The language of instruction at local schools is Arabic, and expats seeking to continue their children’s education from home will be pleased to know that there are a number of international schools in Jordan, catering for a variety of different nationalities. These are mostly located in Amman.