Featured Destination: Israel
Israel as a Featured Destination for Study Abroad Programs makes sense for a number of reasons, whether you are looking for a memorable academic or personal journey. A Study Abroad in Israel program brings you to a country that is often in the headlines, has the highest standard of living in the Middle East and whose history dates back to Antiquity. Mix that in with some of the top world universities for science and technology[i], a diverse Israeli culture, beaches, and the Sinai desert, and you are only skimming the surface of what is sure to be a unique study abroad experience. If travel to Israel has always been on your mind, experiencing it as a student warrants consideration!
Why Consider Israel as a Featured Destination for Study Abroad Programs
If you are looking for a way to experience a foreign and vibrant culture in a country that has unique roots, a distinct geography, the ‘State of Israel’ may be an enriching personal and academic experience. Reading about Israeli customs and tradition is different from actually living in and studying abroad in Israel, a country who established independence in 1948, not too long ago.
DID YOU KNOW? The Hebrew word ‘Shalom’ means hello and goodbye, but it also means peace, tranquility, wholeness, welfare and tranquility[ii]
Whether you are interested in a Hebrew Immersion program or to learn some Hebrew while you study another topic, keep in mind that the 2 official languages in Israel are Hebrew and Arabic, although the locals that you befriend are likely to speak English. In fact, there are a variety of Intensive language study abroad programs in Israel to choose from.
Did Anyone say 'Archaelogy'
Interested in an archelogical dig? Israel archaelogy dates from prehistory through 3 millenia, and there are sites like Ashkelon, the Carmel caves and a host of others if artefacts and ancient ruins (live and in-person) draw your attention.
Peace and Conflict
If you are concerned with your own safety, be preventive, stay aware. This is a good tip for anyone in any destination. It may be impossible to ignore that historically, Israel is often in the news for defending its borders. From an undergraduate perspective, if you are interested in International Politics, have an aspiration of studying graduate-level business and negotiations or related topics, studying Peace and Conflict Studies Abroad in Israel may be an authentic way to broaden some perspectives on foreign relations.
You may not know this but Israel is a leading country in the development of solar energy and water conservation, software technology (think Silicon Valley-ish). Not to mention that since 2002 they have produced 6 Nobel prize-winning scientists[iii]. Are you thinking what we are thinking? If you are contemplating undergraduate engineering, economics, computer science, studying in Israel puts you in some savvy company.
Land of Israel
You do not formally have to be a Zionist to appreciate that Israel is considered the homeland of the Jewish people. It is also known as the Holy Land for Christianity, Islam and the Baha’I Faith[iv]. See the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Israel’s national Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, or visit Beth Hatefutsoth – the Diaspora Museum – it’s right on the campus of Tel Aviv University. Note to self: study Middle Eastern Studies, Comparative Religions, or Hebrew and Judaic Studies abroad in Israel. If you are Jewish, spending the Jewish holidays in Israel may be something to look forward to, ‘just sayin’.
Can We Get to the Culture and Fun Part?
Absolutely! Studying Abroad is Israel means that you get to explore, go on excursions, hang out on the beaches, climb Masada to keep in shape. Israeli culture is part traditional but also very contemporary – Israel has had several movies as final nominees for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. Israel is also known for an animated theatre scene, music, dance, literature and more. In fact, if you study in Israel in the summertime, check out the Red Sea Jazz Festival. If you enjoy hiking, step out on the Israel National Trail, the Jesus Trail or the Golan Height Trail[v] or just shop til you drop at the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv.
Explore and Excursions
First of all, get to know your neighborhood, because taking in a vista is usually free. When in Haifa, walk the Louis Promenade and bring your camera. There are also so many options for excursions while you are studying abroad in Israel. Being a relatively small country, you can walk, take buses, or bike to some destinations depending on where you are and where you want to go. Tel Aviv is a great example. It is on the Mediterranean coastline, so you have beaches, but as the financial center and technology hub, you also get restaurants, and if you are an architecture buff, great sights (Bauhaus, New eclectic, Art-Deco.)[vi]
A few other things to do that might be on your bucket-list:
- The Western Wall and Hezekiah’s Tunnels in Jerusalem
- Jaffa Old City
- Baha’i Gardens and Golden Dome
- Masada National Park
- Mount of Olives (to see the Temple Mount)
- See of Galilee
- Floating in the Dead Sea
You do not have to be kosher to eat amazing food in Israel, although if you do keep meat and milk separate, you will likely feel at home here. Try falafel, hummus, shawarma in a pita and couscous. If you don’t eat meat at all, vegans and vegetarians have plenty of options as well. Bring Shekels for street food, said to be safe to eat! Great place to start a food blog. Cuisine is influenced by Arab and Jewish, Eastern Europe, North Africa cultures. We are going to let you discover what breakfast is about in Israel for yourself.
One of the iconic work activities in Israel is to volunteer on a kibbutz[vii], which is a collective community that usually is based in agriculture, although the word means ‘group’ in Hebrew. Social justice programs – called ‘Tikkun Olam’ are also widely known as being part of the Israeli culture and heritage as well.[viii]
All Seasons Go!
Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall. Climate varies in Israel; terrain has Mediterranean coastal areas, the semi-arid Negev, and the rocky Galilee mean you could see cooler winters and long hot summers. There are a variety of semester options if you choose to study abroad in Israel, whether you are thinking ‘Spring Semester Study Abroad in Israel' to see the country in full bloom, Summer Study Abroad in Jerusalem’ or ‘Fall Semester Abroad in Tel Aviv’ (great featured program below!)
sources: [i] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel | [ii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shalom | [iii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel |[iv] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel |[v] wikitravel.org/en/Israel |[vi] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tel_Aviv#Neighborhoods | [vii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibbutz |[viii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tikkun_olam |tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g293977-Activities-Israel.html | en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeology_of_Israel