Israel’s complex ancient history, sacred Holy sites, and vibrant culture are a few reasons why thousands of people annually visit the country. It is geographically the size of New Jersey (U.S.A.), and borders six countries/territories and the Mediterranean Sea. Within its landscape, one can travel through the orchards and vineyards of the fertile coastal plains, walk to the resort beaches of the Mediterranean, explore the arid deserts, and visit its large metropolitan areas.
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the Old City is a sacred pilgrimage location for Muslims, Christians, and Jews. The modern skyscrapers of Tel Aviv’s booming financial and technology districts contrast sharply with the ancient mosques, churches, and castles. While Israel is well known for the spiritual events of its past, non-religious people will find Israel today to be a fascinating, unforgettable destination.
Why Visit Israel?
Israel is one of the most technologically advanced nations in the Middle East. Israel’s universities have been recognized globally, and several are ranked among the best worldwide. Israel’s premier university is Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where more than 2,000 overseas students study at the Rothberg International School.
Things to Do
Israel is a location that offers an abundance of new experiences for everyone, and these recommendations will help to jumpstart your in-country plans. Most notable for visitors to Israel is visiting ancient synagogues and other religious sites. Whether you identify with a religion or not, viewing the architecture and learning the history is essential to your visit. Also, several UNESCO World Heritage sites including the White City of Tel-Aviv, known for it’s unique architecture, museums, gardens and beautiful beaches, can be visited. Israel is also home to several nature reserves and national parks.
There are many scholarships to fund your study abroad experience. Here is a list of Diversity Abroad scholarships available for study in this country:
For more scholarships, visit Scholarships for Study Abroad in Israel
The regional conflict centered on the sovereignty and territorial rights of Jewish Israel and Palestine has contributed to major conflict in the region. When participating in an education abroad experience in the region, take heed to the safety orientation and training provided to you prior to departure and while in country. The results of extended conflict in the region may look very different from the western viewpoint therefore be thorough in expressing safety concerns and ask questions to ensure you are aware of appropriate safety precautions.
If you have studied abroad in Israel, consider creating a profile and sharing your experience. What you have to say could help inspire another student considering studying abroad. You can also submit an article to be considered for publication on our website. Contact us at email@example.com for more information!
Also, here are some links to potential opportunities for students who have studied abroad and graduates interested in work opportunities in Israel.
Note: These tips are intended to serve as an overview and are not exhaustive. Be sure to research your destination thoroughly as your identity can have a significant impact on your experience abroad
The ethnic minority demographics in Israel consist of 74.8% Jewish (including those with ancestral heritage to Africa, Europe, and Asia), 20% Arab, and smaller percentage of those with various ethnic identities who immigrated to the country (2015 est.). African Americans may be mistaken for another ethnic group based on physical appearance. However, many visitors travel to Israel and the local citizens are familiar with the diverse representation of various ethnic identities that frequent the country.
Asians represent a small ethnic minority in the middle east region yet their cultural ties to the country are substantial. Hebrew University of Jerusalem has one of the oldest Asian Studies offices in the country and they host several cultural and academic events. According to a Chinese-American student (see article below), she was identified more by her nationality as American than she was her race.
Israel is known to be one of the most LGBTQ friendly countries in the middle east, despite the many religious sects represented in the country opposing homosexuality. There are laws that protect the LGBTQ community as well as community specific events, such as the gay pride parade in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Although locals are seeing a shift towards acceptance, social discrimination may occur as acceptance may vary depending on the area you are visiting.
According to the Basic Laws, discrimination based on “physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment (including hiring, work environment, and evaluation), education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, the judicial system, or the provision of other government services” is prohibited in Israel. Additional laws mandate accessibility to buildings, communication and transportation which has advanced the accessibility services in the country. Infrastructure, especially in the public and high tourism areas, is now being accommodated for accessibility with significant changes occurring frequently.
Many visitors travel to Israel for their religious connection to the country, therefore students of various faiths or ethnic identities may connect spiritually with the country. The predominant religion is Judaism, which plays a major role in daily life. Likewise, 17% of the population is Muslim, 2% are Christian and the remaining are Druze or claim another religion. There are frequently occurring religious holidays and social traditions, therefore be respectful of religious customs even if they don’t align with your personal beliefs.
Women travelers should be cognizant of attire when visiting Israel. Social, cultural, or religious customs may require you to dress conservatively when visiting areas that are sacred and religious. Religious expectations may vary, however, you are generally required to cover your head, shoulders and/or legs. To avoid unintentionally offending devouts, a helpful travel tip is to carry a shawl or scarf while traveling for the convenience of a cover up. Also, since travel advisories exists in parts of the country, stay alert and aware of shifting norms especially around religious holidays.
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