Living in Damascus:
Living in Damascus is great. People in Syria are very nice, friendly, welcoming, and curious, and one makes friends very quickly. Syrians have the traditional values of hospitality and generosity, and treat their foreign guests with great respect.
Furthermore, security is maximum. Syria is considered by the United Nations as one of the safest countries in the world, free from crime, insecurity and fear (no theft, no violence, no arms, no drugs). Students will really feel at home, or even better.
The cost of living in Syria is low, much lower than Western countries or Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, or the Arabian Gulf countries. Life is affordable: eating, transportation, accommodation.
Syria is a relatively developed country. For alimentation, fruits and vegetables are abundant, fresh, very tasty as they are naturally produced. For cow meat and milk, there is few because of the climate but chicken, sheep meat are common (even camel).
The bank system is not very developed, but we can find some offices for international transfer (with a commission, as Western Union). Dont bring traveler cheques.
The use of Internet is developed, we find many Internet cafes everywhere.
The weather in Damascus is exceptionally good. 320 days a year there is nice weather. In winter, it is quite cold (cold but dry and sunny) and summers are very hot (35C, but dry heat so easily bearable). Nice seasons (spring and autumn) are long and nice.
Important notice about Dressing:
For the clothes, Syria and specially Damascus, is quite conservative. It is a Muslim country, where the culture, the values and principles are very alive and strong. The best is Respect to be respected.
For the women for example, The most suitable is large clothes, cotton for the summer. Short or medium dresses, naked shoulders, bermudas, tide cloth are not indicated (even though some few syrian girls wear very stretch clothes, it is not the common way).
For men, it is easier: you just have to avoid shorts, bermudas and short trousers. Here, as you will see, all men wear long trousers (and oftenly with another thin trouser under). Even when the sun is very hot, few people go with naked legs, only "machos" or playboys (and some tourists!!).