If you choose to study abroad in Israel, you will experience life in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, where old and new intertwine on every street. In between classes, you can visit the significant cultural and religious landmarks of Jerusalem, experience the young nightlife and food scene of Tel Aviv, or take in some of the country's stunning nature in the oases of the desert and the Dead Sea.
Israel's high-tech, innovative business sector has led to the development of prestigious academic institutions that attract students from all over the world. Experience the dynamic environment of Israel while also immersing yourself in one of the oldest cultures in the world.
How to Enroll
In order to directly enroll in an Israeli university, you have to follow the application procedures for the university of your choice, as there is no centralized system through which international students can apply. Some universities may require potential applicants to take a psychometric entrance test, which tests quantitative, verbal, and English language skills.
One difficulty international students may encounter is that most universities in Israel teach in Hebrew, so a certain proficiency is required in the language if you wish to study at most Israel universities. Though Arabic and Hebrew are both technically official languages, Hebrew is the language used almost exclusively in non-Arab neighborhoods, with English being a close second.
If you are already studying at an institution in your home country with a direct exchange program, this may be one of the easiest ways to enroll in an Israeli university. Many universities, especially in the US, have direct exchange programs with foreign institutions in which a certain number of students from each university will switch places for a semester.
It is possible that your home university will have partnerships in place to allow you to do a direct exchange. Check with your study abroad office to see if this is an option.
Third Party Provider
A third party provider takes care of all the legwork for you when it comes to studying abroad. Simply tell them your country of choice, and they can arrange for you to spend a semester or year abroad while helping you take care of your accommodation, classes and paperwork.
Using a third-party provider can come at an extra expense, since you're paying for additional convenience in your study abroad experience. If this is an option for you, compare providers and read their reviews here on Go Overseas to find the one that's right for you.
The costs of tuition for state institutions in Israel are relatively inexpensive compared to many universities in the US and the rest of Western Europe. For most universities, you should expect to pay between $9,000 and $15,000 per year of study. The cost should be relatively proportional for a semester or shorter term of study abroad.
If you are Jewish, you may qualify for lower tuition costs and financial aid, as Israel seeks to encourage Jewish students worldwide to travel and study in Israel in order to learn about their culture and religion.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Israel is generally lower than in the US and Europe, though select items (such as groceries) may end up being more expensive. Most undergraduate students choose to live in accommodation provided by their university, as it is included in their cost of tuition and puts them in a student-oriented environment where they can more easily make connections with other students around them. This is a good fit for study abroad students too, since you're there for a shorter time.
If you choose to live outside the university, rent per month for a one-bedroom apartment may run anywhere from $600 to $1,000 per month, depending on how close you want to be to the city center. Most universities recommend students put aside another $400-$500 per month for general living expenses, including food, entertainment, and shopping.
If you plan to study in Israel for more than three months, you will need an A2 student visa. In order to obtain this visa, you need to submit an application to your nearest Israeli embassy or consulate at least three months before you plan to arrive in Israel.
In addition to your application form, you need to submit a $46 visa processing fee, your university's letter of admission, a passport valid at least six months beyond the end of your intended stay in Israel, and proof of sufficient finances to fund your stay and studies. Lastly, you need to show proof of health insurance that will be valid in Israel; some universities provide an insurance option to international students, so make sure to check with your university.
Jewish students may be eligible for state funding and other scholarships, as Israel tries to encourage Jewish students from all over the world to study in Israel. If you are Jewish, you can also check with organizations like the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies or the American Jewish League, as well as other private Jewish organizations, to see what funding they offer. Some organizations will only provide financial assistance to students seeking to follow Judaic studies.
Otherwise, you can search the scholarships listed on the Go Overseas scholarship page, or look at the scholarships on the international student page of the university you will be attending in Italy. If you are using a third-party provider or secured your study abroad placement through your university's direct exchange program, check with their offices for available scholarships as well.
Oldest University in Israel
Israel places a high degree of emphasis on education and academic culture, so even though the country is barely 70 years old, it boasts some very prestigious educational institutions. The oldest institution is Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, based in Haifa.
Technion was established in 1912, while Israel was still part of the Ottoman Empire. It is a public research university that focuses mostly on scientific degrees such as engineering, medicine, and science, though it also offers programs in architecture, education, and industrial management.
With 19 different academic departments, 60 research centers, and three Nobel Laureates on its staff, Technion provides a highly-regarded, superior level of education to its students.
The principal language used in Technion's classes is Hebrew; however, the university's international department also offers several courses taught entirely in English, so international students are accommodated here. You can also choose to study at Technion in Tel Aviv, as the university also operates a campus in Israel's second major city.
Biggest University in Israel
Israel's largest university is Tel Aviv University, which currently has 30,000 enrolled students. Founded in 1956, the university is considered one of Israel's most prestigious institutions, and frequently ranks first in the country for research output.
Tel Aviv University has approximately 1,200 international students in its student body, so if you wish to study abroad here, you will be among a very diverse student population. The university has many specialties for which it ranks among the top 500 in the world, the first and foremost being archaeology, for which Tel Aviv University ranks among the top 100 universities in the world.
In addition to an undergraduate degree in either liberal arts or electronics and electrical engineering, Tel Aviv University also offers several Master's and doctoral degrees in subjects ranging from Conflict Resolution & Mediation to Environmental Studies.
Quirkiest Degree You Can Earn in Israel
Of the programs reviewed on Go Overseas, the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev offers one of the quirkiest courses as part of its Emergency Medicine program, called "Dealing With Stress in Daily Life and in Emergency Situations". The course teaches students how to handle themselves in emergency and crisis situations, and also how to organize community so they are more resilient and prepared to handle emergency situations themselves.