Aardvark: Gap Year Program in Israel

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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.

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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

8.66 Rating
based on 41 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 75.61%
  • 7-8 rating 12.2%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 4.88%
  • 1-2 rating 7.32%
  • Housing 8.4
  • Support 8.4
  • Fun 8.9
  • Value 8.9
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 41
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Betsy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Aardvark Israel

I loved Aardvark Israel. This program allowed me to connect to my homeland while learning more about myself and building relationships with my peers. Not only did I explore the country each week, but Aardvark provided me with an incredible volunteer opportunity in which I interacted with children from all walks of life within Israel. My semester with Aardvark was, and will remain, one of the best four months of my life. The people I met through Aardvark became my
second family and I am beyond grateful.

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Daniel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience

Over the course of about 7 months, I made a lot of friends from around the world - and that’s what a gap year is all about. We went on many awesome trips and got to meet a lot of interesting people. Personally, I had a great experience at my internship working at a school for asylum seekers. There are few things I can knit pick to criticize about the program. If I could change one thing, I wish they could have mixed us in more with Israelis so we could have made more friends outside of the program. However this is up to you. During my free time, Some of the guys and I used to go to the basketball courts and play with Israelis. During my time in Aardvark I was able to learn Spanish while with some of the other students. Definitely worth it. Aardvark is dope, I would recommend it.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
When my girlfriend and I walked into a religious neighborhood in Jerusalem and almost got attacked. Or when we were playing basketball and almost got into a massive brawl with some Arabs. It was chill tho.
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Naftali
3/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Aardvark Experience

I had an abysmal experience with the staff of Aardvark. I suffered a moderate-severe injury while I was on the program. They were completely unsupportive of my medical needs. After countless appointments with different doctors in Israel, the staff still tried to undermine the severity of my injury even after it was confirmed by the doctor. Even worse they threatened to kick me out if I didn’t comply to their requirements for MY injury, I would think that would be the doctors/ my parents call. Would not recommend.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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