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Aardvark Israel

Why choose Aardvark Israel?

Aardvark Israel is a program that 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 (Israel Emergency Services) Entrepreneurship, and Selah (Jewish Enrichment Track). We also offer two other programs; Big Idea Tech Program and Masa Year of Service, also known as Serut Leumi.
Aardvark provides our students with a balanced structure enabling them to build their resumes, have meaningful experiences, and have enough free time to make their own plans to enjoy Israel.


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No, I don't recommend this program

Look Elsewhere

Aardvark has been a disappointment. This year of course has been very difficult, but the basic things have not been addresses. The apartment was a mess- filthy dirty, holes in the walls, broken appliances, broken air conditioning etc. The internship was also exactly what I feared - just free labor even when my daughter tried very hard and professionally to speak with them, they were missed meeting, unmet texts etc. They seem to offer a lot of support but mostly the answer is no. When we had an emergency - stolen phone, cancelled flight etc. no one helped. Even when the parents reached out, the answer was always no.
Left early just was no reason to stay anymore.

What was your funniest moment?
Tel Aviv is a cool city, eating, shopping at the Shulk and going clubbing, beach time great too. But do not need to be with Aardvark to enjoy those things.
  • Beach
  • Food
  • Adventure
  • Apartment
  • Internship
  • Safety
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No, I don't recommend this program

Not sure I would recommend

My daughter was disappointed when she didn’t manage to find an internship in the first five weeks of the program. I did most of the work of finding her options (including her final position) myself. I know there were others with similar issues on this trip. Maybe if you are joining Magen David or one of the existing options of Aardvark it would have been different.

Regarding the sleeping arrangements - there are 4-5 buildings in one area and a single building in Rothschild area. While it’s a lovely area- if your child ends up there they will have a more limited experience in terms of connecting with other students. My daughter was in a building with 11 girls while the rest of the program was a 10-15 minute walk away which hindered her ability to spend time with them regularly.
Overall this program feels like camp for children from outside of Israel, which may suit some but not al.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Gap Year Experience!!

This program is absolutely fantastic for people who want a year of fun, personal growth, development and especially independence. I did the fall semester in Jerusalem and it was fantastic! I have learnt so much about living on my own and with roommates and it's a once in a life time experience. If you have the opportunity to come on Aardvark, do it! I loved it so much I wish I could have stayed longer!

The location of the apartments is right in the centre of town making it easy and accessible to acquire essentials and also go out to have fun (e.g. food, shopping etc...). The two apartment buildings are seconds away from each other making it easy to visit your friends apartments.

I did two internships - Lady Morgana (Jewellery store) and Kli-Che (sun printing art studio) which were absolutely wonderful and I loved them so much that I've kept in touch and have gone back to visit many times after the program had finished. I really enjoyed the Tiyul Tuesdays where the whole community were together as we explored Israel. We travelled to many parts of Israel where we hiked and viewed important historical sights. We had an overnight trip in Kibbutz Keturah, a kibbutz located close to Eilat, and it was a fascinating experience where we learnt about kibbutz life and were able to immerse ourselves in Israeli culture!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way and reach out to people! There are so many people from all over the world and it is a wonderful experience getting know others from different walks of life.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best time of my life

I did Aardvark Spring/Summer 2021 in Tel Aviv. I was there from the start of April through the end of July (it was delayed a bit due to COVID). As I reflect on my time in Israel five months later, it still makes me emotional.
My time in Aardvark was truly the most impactful of my life. For the first half of the program, I lived on Allenby Street with all 70 other Aardvark kids in the same building. The location truly could not have been better and it was so fun with everyone sharing the building. The second half, we moved to Florentin, a slightly quieter area. My apartment was on the top floor and we had a large balcony (like the size of a basketball court) with a beautiful city view. My roomates and I would often have a huge group of friends come to the balcony for Shabbat dinners or to socialize before going out. I interned at a local NGO that was right next to the beach. I loved my coworkers and it felt impactful without being stressful. I felt super duper safe, I would often walk home alone at night and did not feel nervous at all (something I miss now being back in the US).
Here was my average schedule: wake up, take the bus to my internship, have lunch w my coworkers on the beach paviliaon, walk home a couple miles and find a cute spot to journal along the way, go for a run to Jaffa, go grocery shopping, cook dinner, meet up with my friends, go to a bar or club, go for a nighttime swim, then walk home along the beach. So so so fun.
The highlight, however, was the weekend adventures. My friends and I would plan mini-trips all over the country. Once we rented a cheap Airbnb and all squeezed in, other times we would stay at hostels. I met the coolest people and learned SO much. I learned new perspectives on everything Israel-related and became so much more independent. As a testament to this newfound independence, I finished my gap year by backpacking solo around Eastern Europe for 10 days.
My advice to everyone on Aardvark is to say yes to every opportunity and journal so you remember these incredible experiences a few years down the road. Not everything will be perfect, but if you roll with the punches, you will end up with some amazing memories. Some people might think that these types of programs try to "brainwash" you into being blindly zionist. However, I encourage you to seek out authentic experiences, and you too can understand and appreciate the complexities of the country. While I was nervous about anti-Israel sentiments occurring at my college, I actually found that I was extremely prepared to discuss the issue maturely with others, mostly due to my experiences in Israel. I plan to make Aliyah after college, something I never considered before Aardvark. Ultimately, I left Israel feeling more confident about who I am and where I am going than ever before in my life.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Best year ever!

Aardvark was the perfect program for me - the right amount of freedom as well as support. I met so many incredible people from around the world and subsequently learnt about different countries and ways of living. I expanded my mindset, stepped out of my comfort zone and gained so much independence - all my goals for my gap year. My internship/volunteering was definitely the highlight of my year (hagal sheli) and I’m still in contact with the people I met and worked with on a weekly basis. All in all, I can’t wait to head back to israel, reunite with all of the beautiful people I met and attempt to relive the best year of my life…


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