Aardvark: Gap Year Program in Israel

Video and Photos

Group listens to instructor
Group listens to instructor
Male and females rock climb
Male and females rock climb
Female students hike in Israel
Female students hike in Israel
Male holds a snake
Male holds a snake
Males pose in front of poster in Israel
Males pose in front of poster in Israel
Images of students in Israel
Images of students in Israel
Having fun telling AMHSI students about Aardvark
Dancing in Tzfat for a holiday celebration on a weekend trip

About

Aardvark Israel is a program which combines volunteering/interning and learning while living in apartments in Israel (right in the heart of Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem) and experiencing Israeli society from many different perspectives. Aardvark Israel is also fully accredited by the American Jewish University, participants can earn up to 30 college credits, whilst also volunteering, interning, touring and deepening their connection to Israel and exploring their Jewish identity. We also offer international trips and special interest add-ons such as Marva (Army); Magen David Adom, Entrepreneurship, and Selah (Jewish learning). Aardvark provides our students with a balanced structure enabling them to build their resume, have meaningful experiences and enough free time to make their own plans to enjoy Israel.

Questions & Answers

Yes most kids do party but it’s also really not a big deal to stay in. There’s a solid group of kids that won’t go out and there’s no pressure or anything.

Reviews

8.74 Rating
based on 38 reviews
  • Housing 8.3
  • Support 8.5
  • Fun 8.9
  • Value 9
  • Safety 8.7
Showing 1 - 8 of 38
Default avatar
Jaimi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Aardvark Israel

Aardvark Israel was the best experience of my life! It was through the program that I was able to gain new skills, experiences and greater independence. The support the program provided me by encouraging Ng me to pursue my own personal goals whilst creating lifelong a friendships whilst deepening my appreciation and love for Israel was astounding. The international trips exceeded my expectations, as well as the Hebrew and educational speakers which taught me so much more than I thought possible.

What would you improve about this program?
I would improve the limited information given to students about the best places to spend free time.
Default avatar
Gabriel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Gabriel Strauss

To me Aardvark was a year to truly find myself. I was surrounded by new people from all over the world, which pushed me to get to know others. I was given opportunities which without Aardvark I’d never be able to say (travel israel, learn about myself, have friends in every part of the world, etc). The list goes on and on when I think about my year with Aardvark, and I would kill to do be back in the same exact place for just one more day. Aardvark was without a doubt the greatest year of my life !

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take each second you get free, and go out and explore. The only way to make Israel yours is by getting to know why you really love it so much.
Default avatar
Raya
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Do it!

Aardvark opens their arms to every type of student. The balance of freedom and programming provides a space for everyone to grow. Many Aardvark students came to Israel shy and self conscious and left Israel confident and fulfilled. The apartments are based in ideal locations in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I often hear potential gap year students question going to Israel because they do not want to be “brain-washed”. Aardvark is unbiased. They showed us every opinion and allowed us to form opinions.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Listen! Always be willing to listen and you will learn so much more.
Default avatar
Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Aardvark Experience

Signing up for Aardvark Israel was honestly one of the best decisions of my life. While the program wasn't perfect, the amount of personal growth I experienced throughout my short time in Israel was beyond my expectations. Aardvark provided me with an environment where I learned how to be self-sufficent, advocate for myself, and push past what I always perceived to be my limits. Although it can be overwhelming establishing a strong social group towards the beginning of the program, by the end of my second semester (which unfortunately only lasted through March due to COVID-19) I found myself with an amazing group of friends that I know will last a lifetime. Israel and Aardvark not only left me with an unbelievable gap year experience, but a place where I know I can always call home. Take the chance and sign up for Aardvark Israel - I promise you won't regret it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers is to not expect the program to be perfect. Life isn't perfect, so why should the program be?
Default avatar
Nomi
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience

I was on the program for 2 semesters and I had a great time. I cannot imagine doing anything else but this program for my gap year. The program really allowed me to grow as an individual and have a sense of independence I didn’t have before, I learned how to provide for myself and how to live with other people who had different lifestyles than me. I also had the experience of going on one of their many international trips which was an amazing experience and I definitely recommend, because some of these trips are a once in a lifetime experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take every opportunity you have to try something new, also travel around Israel as much as you can.
Default avatar
Aliya
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I LOVE Aardvark

Aardvark was the best 7 months of my entire life!

I spent a semester in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem which allowed me to experience the vastly different aspects of Israeli society. In both places I got to enjoy everything the city had to offer. In Jerusalem I chose to go to hosted shabbos every Friday and spend my weekends doing picnics in the park or walking around the Old City. In Tel Aviv I spent almost every weekend on the beach, exploring Yafo with my friends, and sometimes going clubbing.

The program allows for plenty of free time to explore the country and your city, while also having really interesting structured programs (especially Tiyul Tuesdays in Jerusalem).

The staff is beyond caring and provide you with the perfect safety net while you learn to live on your own. They check in to make sure you're doing okay but they definitely don't baby you.

Also, Aardvark offers AMAZING international trip add-ons. I went to China and Spain and had the absolute best time. This is a huge advantage to choosing Aardvark over another gap year program.

To summarize, I can assuredly say that I left Aardvark as a more confident and capable person, with a deeper appreciation for Israel, and best friends that I know will last a life time.

If you're even considering a gap year in Israel I highly recommend Aardvark and encourage you to call and speak to someone from the program!

What would you improve about this program?
If you're looking for a highly academic program Aardvark might not be the exact fit. While there is a large variety of classes to choose from I did not find any of them to be particularly challenging. I still enjoyed and learned plenty but it was not rigorous by any means. You can get valid credits through Aardvark but just know the classes are on the less challenging side- but I'm sure that's a plus for a lot of people!
Default avatar
Moshe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best year of my life

I spent 2 semesters on the Aardvark Israel program and I look back at the time I spent there as truly the best year of my life to date. The program allowed me enough freedom to enjoy my time here to the fullest but also provided structure to keep me busy and on track. I was set up with an amazing volunteering opportunity working in a soup kitchen first semester and I was able to continue working in a kitchen with my internship in a restaurant second semester. I learnt so many valuable skills during my work and I’m grateful for the work that my internship coordinators put in to make sure I was being keeping myself happy and productive. The friends I made on the program are family to me and the environment that Aardvark created allowed me to form bonds with people from all walks of life that I would never have met otherwise. I’m grateful for the time I spent on the program and I wish I could come back for another semester

What would you improve about this program?
If I could improve anything on the program I would change some of the trips we went on to more engaging activities rather than what sometimes felt like an extra lecture
Default avatar
leah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

i love aardvark

aardvark israel was the best year of my life. i was able to make israel exactly what i wanted to be and learn the things about myself i set out to learn. i gained independence, met friends, and learned about judaism and zionism. it was my first time in israel, and aardvark allowed me to see the whole country. the israel education comes from both sides and allows you to form your own opinions about the conflict, which is so important, and the classes teach you so much. i love aardvark and am trying to get my brother to do it i love it so much!

What would you improve about this program?
organization could be a little frustrating, like occasionally things didn’t go to plan.