North Iraq – SERVE

Join our teams in Iraq for this exciting and adventurous 11-month program. Explore the neighborhoods, culture, history and hospitality of north Iraq as you serve as salt and light in the land of rice and generators. 

We have sent over 90 people to Iraq since 1993, and we are currently interviewing team members for Fall (August) 2019 deployment.  Are you ready to SERVE?


Explore the Culture

Engage the culture of Iraq in ways few people ever consider, much less get to experience:

  • Barter in the bazaar for sheep heads, eyeballs, wifi routers and coffee beans.
  • Hike the hills where Abraham, Jonah, Nahum, and other Biblical prophets roamed.
  • Circle dance at rhythm-infused weddings and picnics until you drop.
  • Feast on traditional foods like kofta, dolma, bamiyah, and patcha (goat head soup).
  • Discover firsthand how your new Muslim friends view Christians.

Learn New Things

Northern Iraq is a great environment to fumble through cultural and linguistic differences because the people are incredibly gracious towards guests. 

  • Learn how to guide your taxi driver to your home when you can’t speak the language and streets don’t have names.
  • Take some classes in Kurdish or Arabic (or both!)
  • Have your neighbor teach you to build a table in his shop or how to cook dolma.
  • How to drive with no rules or road lines.
  • How to discuss your faith with your Muslim friends and neighbors.

Invest in Others

To secure your residence visa, you will teach a couple of classes at a local English speaking High School enrolling local Kurdish and Arab students.

  • Develop deep friendships with fellow teachers, students, and their families.
  • Teach a range of interesting and challenging subjects in English like Art History, Humanities, Economics, Debate, Algebra, or Western Literature.
  • Help your fellow teachers learn English vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • Take the initiative to share your musical, artistic, or other skills with your students, neighbors, or coworkers though clubs and after-school activities.

Experience Community

For many, the most surprising part of living in Iraq is the hospitality you are shown by your friends, neighbors, and random strangers.

  • Develop friendships with your neighbors, shopkeepers, students and their families that last for years after you return to their states.
  • Peel yourself away from hospitable neighbors – at 3 am – again and again.
  • Connect with and be encouraged by other expat workers in times of regular fellowship.

Go On Adventures

From shopping down at the corner store to exploring ancient Assyrian ruins, everything in Iraq is an adventure.

  • Figure out who to call when the power pole in front of your house catches on fire!
  • Go on a hike in nearby hills and mountains.
  • Drink or eat suspicious looking foods.
  • Ride the never ending ferris wheel.

How do I SERVE?

Following an application and interview process designed to help us get to know one another, approved SERVE candidates usually start raising financial support in the spring, attend an orientation weekend in Nashville in July, and travel to Iraq in early August. (A teaching stipend is provided by the school, but some support-raising through your network of family, friends and churches is typically required)

We will help you book airline tickets directly into north Iraq (usually Erbil International Airport), find housing in your assigned city. This is typically a furnished apartment close to the school and shopping. We’ll also work with the school to determine your teaching assignment and connect you with your fellow team members.

Every week we will reach out to you with with video calls for personal and team shepherding and encouragement. Wifi and cell service are commonplace, and team members find it easy to stay in touch with family and friends back home.

Some team members choose to travel home to the U.S. or perhaps visit Europe during the extended Christmas and Spring breaks, while others choose to stay in Iraq to experience the holidays like the nationals.

The school year ends in early June, and team members usually return home for the summer. Often, our team members will choose to return with us and serve for 3 years or more.

We’d love to see if you are ready to SERVE!


Recent Updates from Iraq