About the School
Established in 1939, Middle East University (MEU), in Beirut, Lebanon is in the unique position of being the only Seventh-day Adventist institution of higher education in the Middle East and one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in Lebanon. Middle East University sits nearly in the center of the 10/40 Window. It is operated by the Middle East and North Africa Union (MENAU) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a union comprised of 20 countries with a population of about 500 million people. The region is home to 48 cities, each having a population of more than 1 million people. Middle East University was founded to serve this Middle East and North Africa region. For 80 years, MEU has helped students pursue knowledge in a faith-affirming context and has inspired them to change their world through committed and selfless service.
Lebanon is a most hospitable country: In 2009, The New York Times ranked Beirut the No. 1 travel destination worldwide due, in part, to its hospitality. Middle East University also welcomes students from around the world. Currently, MEU is proud to have students, faculty, and staff representing over 30 countries. This legacy of international, ethnic, and cultural diversity, within the student body and among the faculty, has contributed to a rich cultural heritage, and sets MEU apart from other universities, giving students at MEU a distinctive advantage. MEU provides students a space to interact with people from a wide range of backgrounds to help build a university ethos modeled after the Kingdom’s culture. This is reflected in students’ and alumni reports that consistently describe Middle East University as a warm, friendly, family-oriented atmosphere that provides an oasis, ideal for studying and growing in Christ. Students are prepared to work and serve effectively in dynamic multicultural contexts and in our increasingly complex and challenging world. While providing excellent education, MEU’s core mission is Christian service to an unreached region–helping students find their role of service in our world.
Middle East University is ideally positioned on Mount Lebanon at the eastern edge of the vibrant city of Beirut. This location affords plenty of opportunities to experience the exciting culture of the region while studying and living within the peaceful comfort of the university’s secure campus. Located in Sabtieh, an area named for the founding Adventist community, the beautiful, green, 33-hectare campus also boasts breathtaking views of Beirut and the Mediterranean Sea.
Campus facilities include outdoor sports courts for volleyball, basketball, soccer, and tennis; an extensive space for walking and recreation; a cafeteria furnished with a variety of games; and the George Arthur Keough Library for study and research. MEU campus truly feels like a slice of paradise in a bustling city.
Parents are often understandably concerned about the safety of their children studying in foreign countries with which they have little familiarity. As such, we have built several safeguards into the program to facilitate communication with the students and to establish boundaries for the program participants.
To ensure the safety of its residents, security personnel, who are instructed to permit only those with specific University business onto the campus, guard the gate to the campus. After midnight, the gate is locked and is only accessible by remote controls, which are only issued to residents of the campus.
General travel within Lebanon is safe, and crimes such as petty theft and assault are infrequent. Additionally, it should be noted that Lebanon has exceptionally low crime rates according to Interpol statistics compared with the majority of large metropolitan areas in America.
Ranked as the 5th most spoken language in the world, the native language of over 280 million people, one of the six working languages of the United Nations, and one of 13 critical languages identified by the US Department of State, Arabic is a language for which there is great demand. Arabic is also the language of Islam, spoken by over a billion people worldwide. It is the living medium of a vibrant contemporary literature and culture. In the globalized world of today, competence in Arabic is an invaluable asset to jobs in government, international fields, and— most importantly— mission service.
MEU’s Arabic program utilizes Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) as a baseline for understanding Arabic language grammar generally, and for engaging the main Arabic dialects (Levantine, Gulf, Egyptian, Iraqi, and North Africa) in grammar, reading, and writing. It nurtures conversation (speaking, listening) skills in Levantine Arabic (Lebanese).
The ACA Arabic program at MEU is not just about having fun in a new culture,—whether it is paragliding over Beirut, traveling like Lawrence of Arabia in the Wadi Desert, or learning how to cook traditional Lebanese food— but it is also about serving the local community. Students who enroll in the ACA program have a variety of opportunities to help local refugees, while also practicing their Arabic language skills. There is also an array of outreach programs sponsored by MEU and University Church that engage and interact with the community. MEU’s service-oriented culture emphasizes leadership opportunities, fosters character development, and informs cultural competencies. It also casts a vision for compassionate service to a hurting, broken world. In addition to gaining language skills, these endeavors will prepare students for Christ-inspired service roles in a local and global society.
As part of the Arabic Language and Culture program, students can serve twice a week to work with refugees in a variety of ways, including working with ADRA, teaching children at the Adventist Learning Center, and striving to meet the needs of refugee women. This internship is approximately 75 hours per credit, up to 1 or 1,5 per semester and 3 per school year, inclusive of all work, including coordination and preparation, providing feedback afterward, and creating and presenting an oral and visual report at the end. Other opportunities to get internship credits are: communication, marketing, teaching, television, international development, IT, business, graphic design, photography, and chaplaincy.
The textbooks, which are part of the “Al-Kitaab” series published by Georgetown University Press, are frequently used in Arabic language instruction to foreigners throughout the region and in the United States. This will make it much easier for students to transition from MEU’s program to others, should they wish to further their Arabic abilities. It should also be noted that “this textbook is used by Brigham Young University, who was selected by the United States Department of Education as the location of the national Middle East Language Resource Center, making the school a hub for experts on that region.”
Students should also bring a Hans Wehr Arabic Dictionary, which is vital to developing their Arabic skills.
Along with the classes, and service-oriented activities, students participate in cultural outings, traveling to various historic and iconic destinations within Lebanon like Baalbek, Tyre, Sidon, Tripoli, Harissa, Byblos, Jeitta Grotto, and the famous Cedars of Lebanon State Park. Three international trips are selected out of five possible countries: Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi).
Once in Lebanon, it is very affordable to travel to nearby countries, such as Cyprus or other European countries like Spain and Italy during academic breaks. These trips provide students a rich and varied cultural experience, expanding their understanding of the world and the significance of the various historical and archaeological sites visited within the context of the Great Controversy, the history of the church, and its continued mission today.
Life in Lebanon
Students will find Lebanon, and particularly Beirut, to be a very open and accepting Mediterranean culture and society with a unique European flavor. The cultural mix (European, Mediterranean, Arab, Persian, Turkish) is expressed in lifestyle, food, and dress quite familiar to European and American students.
The natural beauty of Lebanon inspires exploration. From relaxing days swimming at the beach to exciting adventures skiing, camping or hiking in the mountains, students will find that Lebanon provides an eclectic array of outdoor activities. Students will also easily be able to find most products and brands that they are accustomed to, including popular western restaurant chains. Subtle cultural nuances, however, invite sensitivity, understanding and positive engagement.
The religious/cultural mix, customs, and traditions of the Mediterranean world need to be respected in personal appearance characterized by neatness, modesty, and appropriateness. Students should avoid clothing that is tight-fitting, revealing, torn, frayed, or faded.
A free Tourist Visa is granted to most Western country passport holders upon arrival to Lebanon. Corresponding information and instructions will be provided by the ACA office. Any additional questions may be directed/answered by the Director of the ACA program at MEU.
Cultural Trips & Tours
Scheduled outings may include the following:
- Beirut (Hamra, Zaituna Bay, etc.)
- Byblos, Harissa and Jeita Grotto
- Faraya (Ski Resort)
- Jordan (Amman, Petra, etc.)
- Sidon and Tyre
- Southern Cedars
- Turkey (Istanbul)
- United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi)
Program Dates & Prices
See a summary of Dates & Prices for all programs