Study Abroad in Israel at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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About

The Overseas Student Program (OSP) of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) offers students the opportunity to enroll in semester, year, or short-term programs. Students take courses taught in English in a variety of academic disciplines, including specializations in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Global Health, Israel Studies, and Sustainable Development & Environment. Students can enroll in for-credit academic research with BGU faculty while on the program. All semester and year students start the program with six weeks of intensive Hebrew language (ulpan) and continue language study throughout the semester; no prior knowledge of the language is required. All program participants live in on-campus apartments with Israeli roommates, a unique aspect for study abroad programs in Israel. Volunteering and community engagement are pillars of the university with over 2/3 of the student body engaged in some form of activism; study abroad students are encouraged and able to get involved.

Highlights
  • For-credit academic research internships available
  • BGU is ranked #1 in Israel for student life
  • BGU is unique for Israeli higher education institutions in that the vast majority of students live on or near campus, creating more of the American college campus culture
  • Over 50% of Beer-Sheva residents are under the age of 35
  • Ideal location for learning and practicing Hebrew

Questions & Answers

Reviews

90%
based on 7 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 8.4
  • Housing 9.1
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
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Vanesa
6/10

Growing in the Desert

Israel is an uncommon choice for a study abroad program, especially opting for Beer Sheva as opposed to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. I am so glad I chose the Negev though, because I feel that I was able to see how normal suburban life is in another country, and the city's rather neutral political leanings provided a haven for those of us that felt overwhelmed by the enormity of the Israel-Palestine conflict at times. It was humbling to be so close to the desert landscapes that in one way or another inspired the three Abrahamic faiths, and also to be only an hour south of Jerusalem. The ease with which we could access some of the world's most important historical and religious sites still astounds me. I will say that academically, I was hoping that I would be able to participate in more rigorous environmental research; that was eventually available to me, but it started late into my program. The program is truly what you make of it, as you have a lot of freedom and the classes themselves are not demanding. I am really grateful to have been able to live in this space, even despite the frustrating times where we were caught in Jerusalem after Shabbat began and the last bus stopped for the weekend, and we had to spend money on a hostel. These are all adventures unique to Israel, and I left the Negev with a greater understanding of many things, myself included.

How can this program be improved?
I was disappointed at the lack of environment-related courses available through the OSP program, and the fact that it took so long to place me in a research internship in the fall semester. If that could be done more quickly and efficiently when students start off, it would be helpful.
Response from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Vanesa, I'm glad to hear that, for the most part, you enjoyed your time on the OSP and in Beer-Sheva! We apologize about the lack of environmental classes during your semester with us. Unfortunately, as with most universities, ultimate course offerings are dependent upon student registration so if enough students don't register for a particular course, we can't open it. I also understand your frustration in the timing of your internship placement and we'll definitely use your feedback to try and expedite the process for future students.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Christina
10/10

BGU OSP Program

When I first decided that I wanted to study in Israel, I didn't do it because I had a university in mind. My university hosted a study abroad fair, where all the major contenders lined up - Hebrew University, Technion, Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan... but Ben-Gurion was absent.

Which in a way is a blessing in disguise, because it made me all the more determined to find out more about the illusive Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Having some family friends in Israel, I was told that Beer-Sheva, as a city, is not the most beautiful or glamorous of Israel. It turns out that this was true, but I enjoyed my time here immensely. As someone who has spent a lot of time in between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, I found that it was a nice measure of 'normalcy'. This is to say that I didn't feel the religious tension one might feel in Jerusalem, and I also found it was more relaxed than Tel Aviv - both of these things were a huge bonus for me.

I absolutely loved doing the Ulpan here. Our professors were the best and it was a lot of fun learning Hebrew that we could use while we were there. I plan on coming back to do the higher level Ulpans as well.

There are many interesting courses to choose from, tons of trips that you should definitely take part in, all made possible by the amazing OSP staff. I made at least two life-long friends while abroad here, and I think it is a great program.

Knowing what I know now, and given the chance to go back in time, I wouldn't change a thing.

Yes, I recommend
Evan
8/10

Great Students, Faculty & Staff

A very vibrant campus, hospitable faculty and staff, and a more local feel than a 'large' city like Tel Aviv. A wide variety of people to meet and places to see. Traveling is constantly encouraged, and their 'study abroad /foreign student' office is always helpful in giving tips, helping translate, or assisting in trip logistics (critical for those trips over Shabbos).

The local students are very active both in Beer Sheva and other cities, so there's always something to do if not 15 minutes away, an hour and change into Tel Aviv.

I can't leave 5 stars due to issues during my last month and half, which is a shame since everything was great for the first few months. The dorms are also lacking (and more expensive than) renting or rooming off campus. If you are quite social definitely look for somewhere to rent instead of dorming.

Aside from this, I believe most will love their experience as much as I did if not more so.

How can this program be improved?
Assistance for finding off-campus housing.

More student independence.
Yes, I recommend
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Amanda
10/10

OSP Fall 2016

I highly recommend studying abroad in Israel, and specifically at Ben Gurion University. I had such an incredible, formative, memorable, fun, and adventurous experience during my six months in Be'er Sheva. The international program is comprised of students from all over the world, and is small enough so everyone gets to know one another. Because of this, I have friends all over, and I learned just as much about Israeli culture as I did other cultures. Additionally, the international students at BGU integrate into the BGU student population, so I really felt like I was part of the school. I really felt like I lived there, not like a visitor. I loved the authentic experience of living in Be'er Sheva. I traveled all over Israel each weekend- I went to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem all of the time, but it was great to return home to Be'er Sheva each week. We had amazing hiking trips on the weekends, and the counselors were so helpful. They really care about each student and are so much fun. I especially loved the Minorities of Israel class, in which we learned about many minority groups I did not know much about before, and visited some of their villages. I would choose to study abroad at BGU again without a doubt.

Yes, I recommend
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Tzippy
10/10

Best Decision Of My Life

The Overseas Program at Ben Gurion University was the best choice I ever made. I had been to Israel in several different contexts prior to it, mostly religious. This was a totally different experience because I was integrated in university with native Israelis in the dormitories. The OSP program itself was extremely eye-opening, because I had classmates from all over the world, Germany, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, the US, and Canada. Not only did I get the opportunity to integrate with Israelis, but with Europeans for the first time too. The program took us on endless trips all over the country and the staff was always extremely helpful. The classes were eye-opening, and I had the unique experience of taking a masters level course in Sde Boker once a week and working in David Ben Gurion's Archive. To this day, those were the best five months of my life. I'm really glad I chose to do the summer Ulpan as well. We had access to the sports center across from the dorms and went to the pool daily. Be'er Sheva is an extremely therapeutic, student oriented city and the campus is beautiful. There was always something going on for students. I made the friends of a lifetime there. I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Ginsburg and thank him for this amazing opportunity.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ashley
9/10

Incredible Experience!!

Studying abroad at BGU was an amazing experience! I learned more than I ever could've imagined about more subjects than I would've dreamed of (mostly because I didn't know anything about them when I started the semester). While combining in-the-classroom learning with out-of-the-classroom field experiences, BGU OSP provides students with a real-world view of current issues related to health, immigration, environmentalism, political science, and Israeli culture. Aside from the coursework, the travel opportunities were immense. In my time there, I traveled to Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus, and Greece, as well as thoroughly traversing all of Israel. The group trips that you can participate in are a great way to get to know the country and see all of the beautiful places you might not find on your own. The professional and student staff who work for this program are so creative and attentive; I really couldn't have asked for anyone better. Most importantly, the nature of this programs draws in a crowd of students who are looking for an adventure. If you're a motivated and curious learner who wants to explore the Middle East and learn Hebrew along the way, I'd highly recommend looking into this program for yourself. You'll never forget the experience!

Yes, I recommend
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Jamie
10/10

Amazing Experience!

Being an OSP Student was the best decision I ever made! Not only are the people amazing, the city, the classes, and the University is the best in the World! All my classes were fun and informative while being appropriate for a study abroad program. We went on trips around the country and we had time for ourselves to travel. If anyone is interested in a study abroad trip, this is the ultimate experience!

How can this program be improved?
It would be longer :)
Yes, I recommend

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About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) remains true to its founding purpose by actively promoting high-technology, desert preservation, water resource management, alternative energy, international health services, and education in the Negev region,...