Program Overview

Program Overview


Program Overview

Program Overview


This not a traditional gap year, and it is not a study abroad program. It is a year of unforgettable experiences for every participant, and it will impact you in ways you can hardly imagine.

Learn more about our unique program experience and see if CARAVAN might be right for you.

The CARAVAN program starts in August and lasts approximately ten months. It begins with a two weeks preparation camp in Lebanon, followed by a month-long summer camp with the German Youth of the Order of Malta in Chabrouh, Lebanon. For the remaining nine months, the team lives in an apartment in Beirut, studies at the university and visits the different homes of the handicapped people.



Our two preparatory weeks in Lebanon aim to establish a team spirit. Aside from an academic progam, there will be a well-developed practical part (e.g. team-sports, communication workshops etc.).  The academic component aims to establish an insight into the history and culture of Lebanon; to help the "Caravanistas" prepare for their service with the people with disabilities and to revive a basic understanding of the Catholic faith.


THE SUMMER CAMP - four Weeks in FARAYA, Leb.

The "Caravanistas" will start their project in Lebanon by attending a full month-long Summercamp in our house in Chabrouh. Over the course of their ten-month program they will additionally organize and conduct several smaller and shorter camps together with the Youth of the Lebanese Order of Malta.



Arabic Lessons

The team will attend urban Arabic courses throughout their ten months stay. The courses will be given by a certified Arabic teacher and held at the apartment. The team will know how to write, read and communicate in urban Arabic at the end of the ten months. Knowing the language also facilitates the communication in the Homes.


University classes - Six months at Saint Joseph

The classes provide an understanding of the cultures and religions in the Middle East, especially Christianity, Islam and Judaism with an emphasis on cultural religion’s difference.

The course, which is worth 16 ECTS points, is taught by professors from diverse
backgrounds at the Jesuit University.



Once a "C", always a "C". As an alumnus you join the growing circle of CARAVAN. Together, this network of inspiring young people can further awareness, first-hand experience, and insights of religious tolerance and Christian devotion. As part of the CARAVAN Alumni Circle, you have opportunities to create, shape and guide the program in the future. You will have friends for life and connections around the globe.

"These courses gave me a great back-up knowledge about politics, historical and also cultural backgrounds of the Middle East. It helped me a lot to understand current developments and changes, and supported me in gaining a completely new perspective to look at geopolitics, media and history." 

Paul, 19 years old from Germany



Details & Information

Details & Information

Details & Information

Details & Information

Dates for CARAVAN 2019/2020

Preparation Camp in Lebanon - Mid August ‘19

Participation in summer camp - To be decided

Service in the Homes - Oct ‘19 - June ‘20

Formation Courses - Nov ‘19 - May ‘20

Departure from Lebanon - 26 June ‘20

Details & Information


  • The team of "Caravanistas" can welcome up to 18 participants. It is meant to be international. Every applicant must be able to speak and understand English.

  •  Each Caravanista must pay a monthly sum of €690 for accommodation, transportation, education, field trips and food. If needed, deductions can be requested and will be decided according to the current financial situation of the project. Flight costs are not included (Approx. €400).

  • The Caravanistas live in an apartment in Antelias, a secure area of Beirut.  Each bedroom accommodates between two and four people. The apartment includes a dining area, living room, kitchen, terrace and a little chapel. It is fully furnished, so participants will only need to bring their personal belongings. Like in a normal student’s flat, Caravanistas will need to look after themselves and take on all housekeeping responsibilities for the apartment.

  •  The participants need international health insurance, third party liability and accident insurance. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information.

  • For the official scheduled trips to and from University courses, and to the daily service in the homes, the team will be driven in the bus by the CARAVAN driver . For private trips in Beirut there are taxis available.

  • Concerning health and hygiene, Lebanon differs from other European countries. Some of the handicapped people in the local homes have severe infections. The following vaccinations are mandatory: Tetanus; Hepatitis A and B; Diphtheria; Polio.  If applicants have any serious chronic illness, e.g. diabetes etc., it is highly recommended to discuss this with a specialist. 

  • Lebanon is a country that reflects a lot of tensions in the Middle East, but this should not worry applicants. A security committee from the Lebanese Association of the Order of Malta which is expertly networked both politically and within the Military is responsible and reliable for the ongoing screening of the situation on-site. This committee provides a customized security plan to assess the safety of the country for our CARAVAN members.

Informations for Parents

As a parent it’s natural to have queries and concerns

about your child’s time abroad.  

CARAVAN is a program for young people. The team shares an apartment in a secure area of Beirut. They will be living on their own. The CARAVAN Project Manager will always be on ground and available for the team to guide them through everything and to listen to their problems and concerns.

The apartments are fully furnished. There is one apartment for the boys and another for the girls. (Wifi is available)

Living in a community is one of the many benefits. The team has to take care of the household, the shopping etc. They organize themselves and each participant is assigned to weekly duties. They have regular movie nights and dinner invitations as a team. For your child to experience Lebanon, the Project Manager will organize excursions and field-trips to travel the country with the other Caravanistas. They quickly form bonds with young Lebanese people and new friendships blossom. They will soon feel at home in Beirut. 

Various rules have been established to ensure the safety of your child, and have to be obeyed at any time. Disobeying the security rules automatically means exclusion from CARAVAN and all other projects. In such an instant the Order of Malta automatically dispenses all further responsibility.  You can find the rules and Security Maps in the Folder to Download.

We guarantee that all possible measures are taken to ensure the security of our volunteers. However, even under greatest precaution, unforeseen risks can occur, in Lebanon as well as everywhere else.  100% certainty can never be granted. CARAVAN therefore only takes participants who are aware of the political and security related situation in Lebanon, and who participate at their own risk.







The Security Situation in Lebanon is much more stable than what one can perceive and/or extrapolate from listening to international broadcasted news. The Situation in Lebanon is actually stable and there are practically no foreseeable changes in the near future. It is even now better than it has been in the past years and we feel confident that this trend will last.  The troubles that occurred recently were localized in border areas which are far away from CARAVAN action zones. It is obvious that there is international and local will for keeping a stable situation and not allowing security troubles to overstep some localized border regions, keeping Lebanon out of the circle of violence that is devastating the region.

Our analysis is based on many contacts with Lebanese official sources and foreign embassies.

CARAVAN is only allowed to act/visit totally secured areas delimited by the Security Committee of the Lebanese Association which could vary according to any security evolution. There are no threats as long as the security rules are applied.

A map has been drawn by the Security Committee defining safe regions that are allowed, other areas that could be visited under certain ground rules with the preliminary agreement and Order’s watch and completely restricted areas (zones which are considered as hazardous are mixed Sunni/Shi’a areas, frontier zones and zones which are out of Lebanese Security Forces control). Other regions and specifically regions where Caravan is allowed to circulate are quite safe and under control. Life there is absolutely normal at all levels.

Security levels have been established designated by different colors.  As per our color coding, the Security Committee considers that we are in the Yellow Security Level .


Green: All is well, touristic season is expected to be flourishing                                                                                                                           Action: Come to Lebanon and bring all your friends along at anytime

Yellow: Some political tension without any military action or explosions                                                                                                         Action: Come to Lebanon and inform us of your whereabouts

Orange: Critical but stable situation with some localized military action or explosions                                                                                 Action: Come to Lebanon but only circulate while being escorted by a vehicle from the Lebanese delegation of the Order of Malta at all times. Touristic activities are reduced significantly and closely monitored

Red: Unstable and risky situation with spread military action and non-targeted explosions                                                           Action: Stay at home, don’t come to Lebanon and cancel the camp. If already in Lebanon, all volunteers have to be escorted to the Airport with a diplomatic convoy from the Order of Malta’s embassy in Lebanon

The Lebanese Association will not accept any risky situation threatening any volunteer operating on the Lebanese territory under its flag. This is why, the Security Committee created by the Association is in charge of monitoring closely the situation and taking the adequate measures in case of any possible threat, including temporary or definitive interruption of the program and the repatriation of the volunteers. Once more, the Security Committee is permanently in close contact with the Lebanese official security services and the main embassies. An evacuation program in case of big threat is coordinated with the German embassy.

The Lebanese Army is in full control of the country's boarders and has the upper hand in particular on the North-East of the Bekaa Valley and the borders with Syria.  The Syrian refugee’s social problem is of great importance, but is not in any way putting a threat to the safe development of our Caravan /camps programs. During last months, the Lebanese Army was able to enter dangerous regions and to bring them back under state control.

The favorable stability of the country is shown by many factors:

  • An expected occupational rate at Hotels of at least 50% for this summer

  • The good health of the financial and banking sector

  • The stability of the Lebanese currency (Lebanese Pound)

  • The decision of the US government to build a new embassy in Lebanon

Please also read Security Bulletin and the Security Rules, available on Downloads