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Year Course - Gap Year Program in Israel
Meet Alan Feldman, Parent of Year Course Alum
GO: What were your main concerns prior to your son's gap year in Israel?
Alan: Our concerns were that Max have a meaningful year and that he allow himself to experience new lifestyles, new relationships and feel less safe than he had ever been before. Less safe in that he was willing to take risks to learn new things. I think most middle class American kids do not comprehend the realities of the world and view the world through a false lens. Living 6000 miles away in a new country, new culture without the daily supervision of parents is an experience worth having at age 18.
GO: How were those concerns dealt with by Year Course?
Alan: Year Course introduces kids to a world that they, for the most part, have not experienced before. They must take responsibility for living on their own and they are provided an environment where they can see vast new realities.
GO: Would you recommend Year Course to other parents?
Alan: I think every high school grad in America could benefit from a gap year program. I think every Jewish kid could especially benefit from what Year Course offers them. We have recommended Year Course to many families by talking about the experience. Both our son's experience and ours. Parents also change during the year. You have to let go, you have to trust your child and you have to be open to feeling some pain but hopefully much joy.
GO: How has this experience changed your son's outlook and future?
Alan: Our son has grown in ways we are still learning about. First of all he is a much better student, now in his freshman college year, than we ever expected. He is much more worldly in that he is concerned about things and issues he never thought about. He is much more independent.
About Year Course
The Year Course Program is an innovative program designed for Jewish gap year students looking for a challenging and rewarding experience in Israel. Since it's establishment in 1956, more than 6,000 students have traveled abroad to Israel for an enriching experience including academic courses, volunteering and internships. Visit the Young Judea website to learn more about spending you gap year abroad in Israel.