5 Reasons to Study Abroad in Israel
Updated: Jun 20, 2019
Have you considered studying Israel? Here are 5 reasons that will make you say “Ken” (yes in Hebrew).
Considering studying abroad? Great!
1. Learn the Language
You can study a language in Hebrew school or high school and never gain fluency. But, if you don’t immerse yourself in the culture and speak with native speakers, or never suffer through the awkward language-barrier situations that fill the study abroad experience, you’re never going to be truly fluent.
That said, you could just spend a semester abroad chatting only with other English-speakers. But, if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Where better to learn Hebrew than in the only country where it’s still spoken? Just make sure you clear your throat first, some of the words use a lot of phlegm.
2. Study the Jewish Religion
Israel is the only country in the world where a majority of the citizens are Jews. Infused with Jewish tradition, Israel is home to all of the holiest Jewish places.
Most semester abroad programs don’t allow you to receive full college credits while exploring the ancient texts of the Torah and experiencing Shabbat. Programs like Thrive at Hebrew University, incorporate these cultural experiences into their semester-long programming. Imagine getting credit for your enjoying a Friday night or Shabbat in Israel.
3. Be a better job candidate
In today’s job market, if you want to stand out in today’s job market–heck, if you just want to be relevant–an international perspective is critical.Israel is considered to be a global leader in the start up space. It’s even called a “Startup Nation”. In a country smaller than New Jersey there are almost as many start ups per capita in Israel than in Silicon Valley. With a diverse range of unique technology companies and social entrepreneurship ventures, Israel is sure to have a good match for your career goals.
4. Eat well
There’s no quicker way to become part of Israel than to sink your teeth into falafel, Israel’s national snack or wipe up some creamy chummus with a fresh pita.
Israel is home to a melting pot of culinary delights but there’s nothing like tasting the fresh fruits and veggies in the Jerusalem shuk (market) on a Friday morning. Be brave! There will be bites you have to force down, but you’ll be well compensated when you ignite a passion for Israel burekas, uncork a love affair with some of the amazing boutique wineries throughout the country, or uncover a craving for fresh falafel.
5. Meet interesting people
Due to the multi-ethnic composition, Israel is a multicultural nation, home to a wide variety of traditions and values. Large-scale immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries from diaspora communities in Europe and Yemen and more recent large-scale aliyah from North Africa, Western Asia, North America, Former Soviet Union and Ethiopia introduced many new cultural elements and has had broad impact. The resulting cultural mix may be described as a melting pot.
With all these unique cultures in Israel, you’re guaranteed to meet some pretty incredible people–both locals and other student from around the globe. While a semester is a long time, it flies by, so throw yourself in and develop relationships. The reward will be lifelong connections. Hands down, the best way to learn a language is to be thrown in and interact with a native speaker.
And just as a bonus, here’s sixth reason to study abroad in Israel:
6. Fall in love with Israel
Studying abroad is not a short-term experience. It will shape you for the rest of your life. While the actual country is so small that you can travel the whole thing in about 6 hours, Israel is filled with amazing sites. From hiking in the Golan Heights, to digging through archaeological ruins in Beit Guvrin, from skiing in the Hermon to floating in the Dead Sea, Israel is filled with so many spectacular tourist opportunities.
If these aren’t enough, you’ll get to know Israel so intimately, learn to speak its language and gain an appreciation for its people that when you back home you’ll be looking for everything Israel in your hometown. You’ll look for films, pretend that the hummus back home is remotely comparable to Israel’s, you’ll perk up when it’s mentioned on the news or when you hear a snippet of its language on the street. You’ll have lived in it, and it will continue to live in you.