Israel offers a unique study abroad experience that thousands of students globally take the opportunity to pursue. While some students choose Israel to engage in a heritage or cultural seeking trip, others are intrigued by its academic offerings. Whether you’re still contemplating a trip to Israel or making last minutes travel arrangements, be sure to pack these useful tips with you.
1. Research. One constant (and essential) travel tip is to thoroughly research your destination before embarking on your journey. Since fake news is abundantly available and at times difficult to determine, it's crucial to cross check your sources using several forms of media from various perspectives in order to create a holistic opinion about your destination. Virtually explore your intended destination(s) using the Diversity Abroad Country Guides, then continue your personal research. View the Israel Country Guide here and also listen to an Alumni Story from Marcus.
2. Learn a Critical Language. While studying at a local university in Israel, enroll in a Hebrew or Arabic language course. While English is widely spoken throughout the country, learning a critical language will help you connect with locals and is a skill you can continue to develop even when you return home. Multilingualism is a skill that employers find highly favorable, therefore remember to put it on your resume. Diversity Abroad has partnered with Hebrew University of Jerusalem to offer summer and fall scholarships to study abroad.
3. Visit Historical Sites. Israel is known for its ancient ruins and holy sites. The Holy City, Dome of the Rock, Caesarea National Park are a few popular places that constantly attract visitors. You don't have to practice a specific religion (or a religion at all) to understand the historical timeline of the sites and appreciate the architecture and how it has sustained throughout time.
4. Explore the Culture. The three major cities in Israel are Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv. These cities annually host food festivals, gay pride parades, music festivals, art fairs, photography festivals, performing arts shows, and marathons for the athletically inclined. Israel is also home to dozens of museums. While you’re there, check out the Tel Aviv Museum of Art or the Israel Museum.
5. Visit Natural Sites. Find natural beauty within the metropolitan cities by visiting places like the Bahá'í gardens. Or, escape the bustling areas and visit a beach or take a hike in the natural park such as the Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve. The Dead Sea, one of the saltiest bodies of water on earth, is also a must see location.
6. Safety. Over 3,000 U.S. students study in Israel annually and while embracing the community is imperative, so is your safety. As with all study abroad trips, take heed to the safety orientation and training provided to you prior to departure and/or while in country. The results of conflict in a region may look very different from your cultural viewpoint, therefore, be thorough in expressing safety concerns and ask questions to ensure you are aware of appropriate safety precautions.