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Rich in history, Jordan traces its roots back to biblical times, although the modern state only became independent in 1946. About the size of Portugal, it’s surrounded by Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Israel and the West Bank. A constitutional kingdom, Jordan is one of the most relaxed countries in the Arab world. There’s plenty to see, from Roman remains to natural wonders, from Crusader castles to biblical sites.

The most important and largest city is the capital Amman. Here, modern office blocks, restaurants and boutiques rub shoulders with traditional coffee bars, craftsmen’s workshops and the atmospheric souks (markets). The climate in Amman and many other areas is pleasant, although the summers are hot. But four-fifths of the country are desert, land of the Bedouin and some of it is hauntingly beautiful. Lawrence of Arabia described the dramatic rock formations at Wadi Rum as “vast, echoing and God-like”. Also in the desert is the breathtaking ancient city of Petra. It was created 2,000 years ago when beautiful buildings were carved out of sheer rock faces, and many of them are still there today. There are obelisks, temples and a Roman-style theatre which once sat 3,000 people, all cut out of the pink stone.

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Then there’s the Dead Sea, really a saltwater lake, and an amazing 400 metres below sea level – the lowest point on the earth’s surface. Its cocktail of minerals is therapeutic for the skin, and being ten times saltier than seawater, you can float in its warm and soothing waters reading a book! There’s more aquatic activity to be had on the Red Sea, snorkelling or diving amongst the gorgeous coral reefs.

Jordan is one of the biggest producers of olives in the world, and olive oil is the main cooking oil. Jordanian cuisine is full of flavour and popular snacks include hummus and falafel. Foreigners in Jordan benefit from the Bedouin tradition of welcoming visitors and English is widely spoken. But don’t let that stop you from learning a few phrases of Arabic, which is always a good ice-breaker!

Jordan is a country of only six million people, but there’s good demand for EFL due to international business, tourism and its close historic ties to the UK. Salaries are reasonable, and it’s possible to save money as an ESL teacher, with a low cost of living even compared to other Middle Eastern countries. Taxes are also low, and benefits can include free accommodation, airfare and medical insurance. Unlike most Gulf countries, Jordan doesn’t have visa restrictions based on age. TEFL opportunities are mostly in the cities, especially Amman. ESL contract hours are usually 20–25 hours of class contact a week, leaving you time to explore this beautiful country. EFL jobs can be found online, and whilst you may get an initial phone interview, most schools prefer face-to-face interviews, plus it’s much easier to secure a job once you’re already in the country.

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