Israel may be a tiny geographic part of the Middle East, but it commands a strong international presence, not only for its culture but also for its educational resources and bright students. In fact, 24% of Israel’s workforce holds university degrees.

Some would say that the “homeland” for the Jewish people has some of the friendliest people in the world. To think of the regional violence between Arabs and Jews as characteristic of Israel is not doing justice to the nation. There is much more than meets the eye. Sign up for a program, begin your study abroad travels, and experience Israeli culture for yourself.

Israel may not be a huge country, but there are a diversity of program options for you there. Selecting a "home away from home" that sounds the most adventurous will be crucial in defining the success of your study abroad trip.

Jerusalem

One of the world’s most iconic and religiously-active cities, Jerusalem is a hub of activity. While that activity can occasionally be violent, the people you encounter regardless of their faith—Christian, Muslim, or Jewish—will be well worth it. The Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock, and the Old City are but some of the areas that are full of history and contention. When it comes to educationally-enriching cities, you can’t get much better than Jerusalem.

Tel Aviv

Located right on the Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv is the face of modern Israel. Although Tel Aviv is relatively small compared to large global cities, it has become one of the Mediterranean’s hottest spots to party and soak up the Israeli and Middle Eastern visual arts culture. If you attend the University of Tel Aviv, just remember to bring your dancing shoes.

Whether it’s a coastal university or one at the heart of the capital, Israeli universities offer opportunities aplenty for educational and cultural immersion. Be sure to pick the housing, language of instruction, and university that is best suited for you. The language courses, housing options, and availability of cultural activities should be factors of your ultimate decision.

Language

Although a proficiency in Hebrew is not required to get by in Israel, a semester there would be the opportune time to improve your language skills; NRCSA also believes this (we'd have to agree!) That’s why their program offers Hebrew-instructed classes and a home-stay whereby the student stays with his or her teacher. What’s more, there are chances for Arabic language immersion, courtesy of IFSA-Butler Study Abroad program in Jerusalem. Whatever you prefer, we definitely encourage students to take advantage of language learning opportunities unique to Israel.

Housing

As a study abroad student in Israel, you can either stay in a home-stay and eat heaps of home-made baba ganoush, opt to stay in a private or shared apartment, or choose to stay on campus in student dormitory living. Whatever strikes your fancy, be sure to find a program that will cater to your needs and desires.

Immersion and cultural activities

Depending on the program you pick, you may have a slew of weekend activities and schedules to look forward to for the duration of your program. While these guided tours complement your studies and usually provide great bonding time for your new classmates, some view these organized excursions as restraining their freedom. Which do you prefer? Choose a study abroad program that encompasses your touristic, as well as academic, needs.

Study Visas in Israel

Although not very advisable, student visas can be acquired once in Israel. With a student visa, you can leave and re-enter Israel as many times as desired for one year. After the year, you can renew your student visa in Israel or abroad.

Living in Israel is not cheap, so you must be financially prepared to tackle the high costs of groceries, rooms, modes of transportation, etc. What’s more, the political and economic turmoil that occurs causes inflation to rise unexpectedly. Plan ahead for financial woes - apply for scholarships!

Contributed by Daniel O'Kelly

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