Study Abroad in Israel for a Diverse and Inclusive Semester
Israel is the ideal country to experience a breathtaking array of multi-cultural regions, people, religions, and of course, food. There’s no better time to take a deep dive into the different aspects the country has to offer than to spend a semester studying abroad in Israel.
If you’re looking for reasons to spend a semester studying abroad in Israel, you’ve come to the right place. Israel is a thriving, modern country that embodies diversity, inclusion and equity. Come along as we give you an up-close look at why spending a semester studying abroad in Israel will expose you to these concepts in ways that will make your head spin…and your heart sing.
Israel is a Country that Embodies Diversity
Israel is a small country (no larger than the state of New Jersey), yet its people and religions are so diverse, you may feel you are traveling to three different countries at once. How can such a small country be so diverse?
Diversity in Israel can be seen in multiple areas:
Diverse People - Israel is a country of immigrants, and yet its biblical history establishes its Jewish roots, as well as its many conquerors, each of whom made a mark on the landscape, the culture, and the food. The varied people who have traveled, settled and conquered the land have made a significant impact on everything from architecture, food flavors, and local culture.
Diverse Religion - The three major monotheistic faiths - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all trace their starting roots to Israel (Islam began in nearby Mecca, but was later established in Israel with the Temple Mount being the third-holiest Muslim site). These diverse religions live in the same country, and famously co-exist in Jerusalem’s Old City, where the ancient Four Quarters correspond to each religion (the fourth being Armenian, a type of Christianity), and worship in their respective communities. Each religion colors the Israeli calendar with numerous holidays, traditions and foods to explore and enjoy during your semester abroad. More importantly, Israel is a country where religion, spiritual beliefs, and self-exploration are not only honored, but encouraged.
Diverse Land - Despite its tiny size, the land of Israel offers a wide variety of diverse landscapes. From the Mediterranean beaches in the west to the shores of the Galilee in the northeast, the Negev and Judean deserts in the south, to the snow capped Hermon Mountain in the north, traveling Israel will give you a plethora of sites and experiences, all within a four hour drive.
Diverse Opportunity - Innovation and invention are Israel’s hallmark. 13 Nobel Laureates (more per capita than the US, France, and Germany) in such diverse fields as Chemistry, Economics, Literature, and Peace call Israel home. Students who study abroad in Israel are encouraged to find opportunities to intern in a wide variety of fields.
Why Israel is an Inclusive Country
Israel safeguards its population, guaranteeing freedom of access to all religions, cultures, and lifestyles. Its people are passionate about everything, so much so that you may be put off by their pushiness in wanting you to join in what they’re doing, or tell you how to do anything according to how they do it! But this forwardness in nature is backed by a loving, warm and understanding heart deep down inside each Israeli…if you’re patient enough to wait for it to manifest!
Multicultural Inclusivity - Every city in Israel, and neighborhood within that city, has its own distinct history and personality. Walk the streets in any area of Israel and you’ll find local foods, customs, dress, and music that varies from a nearby city, depending on the ethnic background of the residents. Each respects the other and enjoys their symbiotic relationship and freedom to express themselves.
Inclusive Language - While Hebrew is the official language of Israel, and you will be required to take Ulpan (immersive Hebrew language course) upon beginning your semester studying abroad, you can also immerse yourself in other languages such as Arabic, Russian and Amharic (Ethiopian)...and of course, good old English. Flex those linguistic muscles and you will be rewarded with introductions to many varied venues and experiences.
Inclusive Transportation - Getting around Israel is easy for everyone. Buses and trains are completely accessible and can take you anywhere. If you want to get somewhere more directly, taxis and shared taxis abound. Taxi drivers are notorious in Israel for their informative and friendly conversation. Don’t be put off if you’re asked for all kinds of personal information. Oftentimes, you’ll find out a connection through the driver that you never realized, or information about an event that you’d like to attend. They are loquacious and endearing.
Israel Is an Equitable Country
Israel is home to so many groups of people from so many different backgrounds and religions. Its political and economic infrastructure has developed to make sure that all its citizens are represented fairly and impartially.
Equitable Politics - The Parliamentary structure of Israel’s government allows for proportional representation from many different parties that make up the 120 member Knesset. In the Government today, there are parties in power that range from secular to religious, Jewish to Arab, and Liberal to Conservative, all working together to create an open and welcoming country to its citizens. Experiencing a visit to the Knesset to hear all the shouting as each representative vies for their voice to be heard is a must while on study abroad in Israel.
Equitable Economics - Israel is based on a socialist model of providing its citizens with basic needs such as health care and education for minimal cost. Many other industries are subsidized, such as transportation for students, the disabled, and senior citizens. You can take advantage of being a student and get discounts to travel the country and visit the many museums, libraries, and historical sites.
Equitable Innovation - In every field, Israel is an innovator. No matter what field of study you are majoring in in college, you can find an innovative and explorative movement in your industry in Israel. Israel is “The Start Up Nation” for a reason. Take, for instance, the concept of Farm to Table. Israel started as an agrarian society and is a leader in providing fresh, locally grown produce to shuks, restaurants, and family tables for decades. Israel has also integrated its tech innovations throughout its many industries to make them leaders in efficiency, production, and sustainability. . The Dairy industry is another good example. The national average milk production per cow in Israel is higher than any other nation in the World. How does this happen? Because dairy farmers, like in every other industry in Israel, love technology, seek innovation, demand accountability, and they are willing to share all their data and results. These are the bulwarks of a country that is committed to helping every person attain a better standard of living and enjoyment.
Israel is a great place to spend a semester studying abroad. You can study every aspect of its culture, economy, and its political system, and, in each area, you will find the innovation and dedication to best practices that make it one of the most diverse, equitable and inclusive countries in the world.
Ready for a semester of a lifetime? Apply today to study abroad with Thrive in Israel at Tel Aviv University or Hebrew University of Jerusalem. You’ll experience Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for a semester…and create awesome memories that will keep you visiting for years to come.