Top 10 Places to See in Europe while Studying Abroad in Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">Top 10 Places to See in Europe while Studying Abroad in Israel</div>

 

Israel is bound to be the best place to study abroad, not only because of the beautiful men and women, cutting edge technology or beaches but also it's location at the center of the world. With the little time and a small budget, you can travel from Israel to pretty much anywhere in Europe.

It's essential to see as many countries as possible while studying abroad; check out our list of the Top 10 Places to See in Europe while Studying Abroad in Israel.

 

ATHENS, Greece: In a hop and a skip you can catch a direct flight to Greece from Ben-Gurion Int'l Airport and bask yourself in Feta cheese, Moussaka, and the Panthenon. Flights are usually $200 bucks and under.

 

 

PRAGUE, Czech Republic: Prague is also right next door to Israel, well, practically. Fly yourself to the land where beer is cheaper than water and immerse yourself in the history of this once thriving Jewish community. Flights from Ben-Gurion Int'l Airport to Prague are around $250 -$500 bucks depending on the time of the year (pictured below: The Jubilee Synagogue).

 

BARCELONA, Spain: Spain is super close too! Fly on over and explore all the wonders of the famous architect Gaudi or catch Messi playing a soccer game at the Barcelona Football Stadium (known as Camp Nou). Flights to Barcelona ballpark for around $340.

 

IBIZA, Spain: Yes, you've definitely had the Mike Posner song stuck in your head, but now is your chance to show Avicii you're cool. Visit any of the world famous nightclubs Ibiza has to offer or go on a boat cruise for a day. Flights to Ibiza are a tad longer than flights to BCN and range from $300 - $500 dollars.

 

ROME, Italy: In 72 hours you can conquer most of the tourist attractions in Rome while enjoying fresh pasta and house wine all along the way. Don't forget to shop in the Roman "shuks" of Monastiraki and Plaka. Be sure to schedule in a hike to the Acropolis too. Flights for around $300-$500.

 

 

BERLIN, Germany: Take a walk through history and visit the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate and enjoy the nightlife! Remember to get your museum tickets early so you don't miss out on the fun. Flights range from $340- $400.

 

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands: Who wouldn't want to spend the weekend walking through the world's largest Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House or seeing any one of the canals this city has to offer.  The city is also known for their cafes and coffee shops, so be sure to make a stop! Flights from $199.

 

PARIS, France: Missing your friends studying abroad in France? Take a weekend and sip wine in a French café, visit the Eiffel tower, walk through the gardens of Versailles or take a river boat cruise? Numerous free walking tours are available daily.  Flights from $200.

 

BRUSSELS, Belgium: Chocolate lover? Beer fanatic? Take a trip to Belgium and visit the famous city of Brussels where you can go on a Brussels Chocolate Walking Tour and check out the Grand-Place! Flights from $195.

 

BUDAPEST, Hungary: Sulk in the ancient bathhouses of Budapest, cruise down the renowned Danube river, stroll across the chain bridge and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience walking through the old Jewish district. Flights from $169. 

Cheap ways to book flights:

Hopper

EasyJet

RyanAir

Yalla? Are you ready to go? For more information about studying abroad in Israel talk to an expert Masa Israel rep today

 

3 Courses that will Rock Your Semester at Tel Aviv University

<div class="masa-blog-title">3 Courses that will Rock Your Semester at Tel Aviv University</div>

Opening its doors four decades ago Tel Aviv University boasts a diverse group of 30,000 students and is noted as a top academic institution worldwide. TAU focuses its energy in the fields of sciences, humanities, and arts. If you’re looking to live in the mecca of Israel with opportunities at every corner then Tel Aviv University is the choice for you. 

 

Check out these 3 unique classes offered at TAU:

 

1. Community Action in Tel Aviv

There’s no better way to spend your semester abroad than helping others! The Community Action Program  is designed to accelerate your social justice skills and give you firsthand experience working with refugees in underprivileged communities. The program is a partnership between Tel Aviv University and Yahel Social Change.

 

2. Nuclear Nonproliferation and Security in the 21st Century

The threat of international terrorism is growing in our modern world and what better way to make a difference than to enroll in TAU’s Nuclear Nonproliferation and Security course. You’ll have the opportunity to hear from leading Israeli experts in the field topped off with a class trip to an Iron Dome site in Ashkelon.

 

3. Entrepreneurship from A – Z

Look at the world around you: that building, that car, your phone, those headphones. Everything around us was once only an idea. This course will teach you about those who start companies and those who work for companies. You’ll gain skills needed to integrate into either group – whether your idea is the next big thing or you want to work for the next big thing.


Ready to be in Tel Aviv next semester? The pros at Masa Israel will match you with the perfect study abroad program. Connect with our team here

 

3 Classes You Can’t Go Wrong with at Hebrew U

<div class="masa-blog-title">3 Classes You Can’t Go Wrong with at Hebrew U </div>

Over and over again The Hebrew University has been ranked one of the World’s Top 100 universities and is home to 8 Nobel Prize winners. With first-class study abroad undergraduate and graduate programs, international students of Hebrew University thrive both inside and outside of the classroom.

 

Studying abroad at Hebrew U means you’ll enjoy all of what Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, has to offer while meeting friends from South America, Asia, Africa and Europe. 

 

Start your journey to Israel today and check out 3 classes you can only take in Jerusalem!

 

1. Feminist Judaism: Theory and Practice, Contemporary Issues and Ideas

Take a stroll outside your comfort zone with Dr. Shulamit Magnus and explore the Jewish feminist critique of traditional Judaism. You’ll spend a semester looking at contemporary issues that engage feminist Jews, women, and men (photo: Naomi Wolf).

 

2. Uncovering Jerusalem: A Historical and Archaeological Survey

It’s time to take the classroom outside and literally step into history. In the class, Uncovering Jerusalem you’ll take 10 field trips throughout the city and truly learn the ins and outs of archaeology. 

 

3.  Technology Entrepreneurship

In a country that raised nearly $3.58 billion dollars in venture capital, there is no other place to study entrepreneurship than the Holy Land itself. Throughout this course, you’ll have the opportunity to be mentored by Siftech, the Jerusalem accelerator!

 


Fun Fact: Did you know that the Albert Einstein Archives are located at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem?


 

3 College Classes Any Aspiring Environmentalist Must Take

<div class="masa-blog-title">3 College Classes Any Aspiring Environmentalist Must Take</div>

The Arava Institute is the leading environmental research and studies program in the Middle East. With a diverse student body made up of Israelis, Jordanians, Palestinians and students from around the globe. You will enrich your friendship circle, but also build connections and skills that will help lead environmental change in any region. The first step in solving the world’s most complex environmental problems is only a plane ride away.

 

  Here’s a glimpse of 3 courses offered at The Arava Institute:

 

1. Water Management in the Middle East

Gain the knowledge necessary to comprehend the major issues affecting water management in the Middle East and challenges facing today’s policymakers and experts. Water scarcity is a reality in the region and this course gives you a first-hand look at ways to critically think about dealing with the issues at large. 

 

2. Alternative Energy Science

Discover the vast and complex world of renewable energy sources and learn from faculty with first-hand field experience. This course will also touch on the environmental consequences of energy conversion and how new energy technologies aid in reducing global climate change. 

 

3. Introduction to Solid Waste

Solid Waste isn’t the most attractive title for a college course, but it’s a reality that affects the world we live in every single day. Leading professionals recognize that proactive management is required to deal with the disposal of solid waste and where better to learn about this topic than The Arava Institute? 


Whether you’re a sophomore or junior interested in bettering the lives of those around you or a Master’s Degree student, The Arava Institute can advance your academic career and help you contribute to the betterment of the world. Learn more here.

 

 

3 Classes You Can Only Find at Ben-Gurion University

<div class="masa-blog-title">3 Classes You Can Only Find at Ben-Gurion University</div>

Named after Israel’s founder and first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev was strategically founded in the desert because of Ben-Gurion’s mission. Ben-Gurion worked tremendously hard to make the Negev bloom and become an area where the Jewish people could make major contributions to humanity. 

 

Today, the Negev and Ben-Gurion University are home to 20,000 students living in Be’er Sheva.  The university specializes in Engineering Sciences; Health Sciences, Natural Sciences, Humanities and is home to the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies. 

 

Get a glimpse into 3 unique classes offered at BGU:

 

1. Mystical Themes in Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Traditions

Have you ever been curious about the Kabbalah or wonder where certain spiritual trends come from? Discover journeys of the transformation of the self, the individual spiritual quest, the prophetic meaning of dreams and more. You’ll become familiar with the Zohar and excerpts from the Bible, New Testament, and Koran.

 

2. From Idea to Startup

Learn the secrets of creating a successful business strategy and maintaining a profitable venture through From Idea to Startup. You will learn what it takes for a venture to reach its full potential and dive deep into talks about innovations, ideas and technological ventures in today’s world.

 

3. Israeli Society: Visions and Divisions

David Ben-Gurion himself was one of the founding fathers of Zionism, so where else would you take a course that looks into the issues of Israeli society than at this university? Through Visions and Divisions, you’ll learn the keys to understanding Israeli society, politics and culture as well as learn principles and values informing Israeli life. 

 


Don’t forget there are hundreds of study abroad options available. All you have to do is ask. Visit masaisrael.org/apply for more information or to be connected with a recruiter.

 


 

No Car? No Problem: An Introduction to PublicTransportation in Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">No Car? No Problem: An Introduction to PublicTransportation in Israel</div>

Embarking on an Israel Journey = exciting! Being without your beloved car? Not so much. However, there’s need to worry: from buses, to trains, to taxis and more, there are plenty of reliable transportation options in Israel:

 

alt=Buses in Israel

 

Hitting the road on a bus is often the most common and convenient way to make your way around Israel. Most cities have local bus services and the average single ride costs about 5 New Israeli Shekels (NIS) – less than two dollars – though, prices vary by city. Inter-city buses tend to be the fastest and cheapest options for domestic travel. Explore bus schedules and routes here.

 

Rav Kav Card

 

If you plan to ride local or inter-city buses regularly, you’ll need to get a Rav Kav (pictured above), a personalized electronic bus pass with your name, passport number, and picture in order to purchase multi-ride tickets or an unlimited monthly passes known as a Chofshee-Chodshee... Note that bulk rides and monthly passes only work within your local region. When traveling between cities you will need to purchase additional tickets. Once in Israel, if you find yourself in need of a Rav Kav, your program staff will be more than happy to help you.

 

Trains in Israel

Another great way to travel throughout Israel is by train. Lines run frequently from Akko in the north to Be’er Sheva in the south, with lines also running to central cities like Modiin, Ramle-Lod, and also Jerusalem*. Trains are all equipped with air conditioning, electrical outlets and wifi making it a pleasant way to get to your destination. You can also purchase train tickets on your Rav-Kav (those things are so handy!). Check out train ticket info, schedules and more.

 

Jerusalem Light Rail

 

Within Jerusalem, you can also travel locally via the Jerusalem Light Rail, a tram that runs from Pisgat Ze’ev in the North to Mount Herzl in the West. Plus, the Light Rail will accept your local multi-ride or monthly bus pass.

 

*We generally recommend the bus to Jerusalem. It runs more frequently and drops you off right in the city center.

 

Shared Taxis in Israel

 

A monit sherut, more commonly known by locals as a sherut is a shared taxi and a uniquely Israeli mode of public transportation. You can think of these vans that set eight to ten people as a cross between a bus and a taxi. In some cities, sheruts follow predetermined routes along which you can hail a ride, or request to get off rather than being limited to pre-selected stops.

 

Monit Sherut

 

Depending on where you live, you might also find yourself taking sheruts to get from one city to another. They’re a convenient way to get to smaller towns in between the big cities because they tend to run more frequently than the bus and you can request to get off at any destination on the route.

 

Taxis in Israel

 

Like most other places in the world, there are taxis in Israel. Whether you choose a traditional cab or a more stylish ride, these private car services are obviously the most expensive form of transportation. Of course, splitting the cost with friends will definitely make this convenient option more cost effective, which is super handy when returning home late at night.

 

Israeli Taxi

 

The most important thing to know about Israeli taxis is that you want the driver to use the meter. Unlike many other countries, Israeli cab drivers are not required by law to use the meter. So, they’ll often try – very hard – to sell you a flat rate. That’s when you’ll INSIST on using the meter. It’s almost always guaranteed to be cheaper.

 

So there you have it: between the trains, buses, taxis and sheruts you'll have no problem getting to class or work on time, or planning a weekend getaway for you and your friends.

 

 

 

The Jewish Advocate: The significance of Shabbat in Somerville

The Jewish Advocate: The significance of Shabbat in Somerville

July 8, 2016

By Evan Rabin

 

I grew up as a Reform Jew in New York and went on to study at Brandeis University. However, I never really felt I had “Jewish” responsibilities to myself until I spent some time in Israel.

In the spring of 2011, I studied abroad at Tel Aviv University through Masa Israel Journey. While I learned a lot of Hebrew in Ulpan, and learned a lot about Israel and business studies in my other classes, it was often the conversations I had with friends that truly helped me understand what it means to me to be a Jew – and how Judaism fits within my own life.

 

Previously, I had not frequently honored Shabbat. It wasn’t until a friend expressed surprise that I didn’t think experiencing Shabbat applied to me, because I was Reform, that I realized I had been missing an experience that would grow to become dear to me. This conversation was one of the first to change the way I viewed my relationship to my Judaism. I wanted to observe Shabbat – I wanted to be involved.

 

After I returned from my Masa program and went back to school at Brandeis, I frequently attended Shabbat dinners and took part in Jewish learning at the campus Chabad. When I graduated four years ago, I moved back to New York, and found most of my new friends through the Jewish communities at the Moishe House and Chabad of Young Professionals.

 

Six months later, I moved to Boston to begin my career in technology sales, and the same thing happened – I frequented the Chai Center, Vilna Shul, CJP, JPulse, Tremont Street Shul 20s 30s and other Jewish organizations’ events. Long after I’d left Israel, I continued to feel most at home in Jewish communities wherever I went, whether local in Boston or as far as Goa, India, or Buenos Aires.

 

Fast forward three-and-a-half years, and I am still active in the Boston Jewish community, cochairing the Tremont Street Shul 20s 30s Committee and sitting on the Masa Israel Boston Alumni Board. Although I already consider myself highly Jewishly involved, my roots in Masa Israel, which helped me realize the significance of Judaism in my life, continue to lead me to explore new ways to connect with my Jewish identity and community.

 

So earlier this month, with the help of Masa Israel and OneTable, I did something I’ve always wanted to do: I hosted a Shabbat dinner in my own home.

 

My original intent was to have no more than 10 guests; after all, my apartment isn’t that big! But 16 people showed up, including six fellow Masa alumni. In Chabad-like fashion, I could not turn people away. I upped the catering order several times and purchased new chairs to squeeze in everyone.

 

It was a diverse group of people – both men and women, ages ranging from about 22 to 40, and birthplaces in the United States, Russia and Israel. Some of the people I’ve known for years; others I met recently. One attendee I met for the first time; he moved from Puerto Rico to Boston two weeks ago to study at Hebrew College Rabbinical School.

 

After schmoozing, we sung “Shalom Aleichem.” A friend from Netanya, Israel, led us in kiddush, and a fellow Masa alum made hamotzi. Then we dined on hot pea soup, meatballs, knishes, tofu, London broil, roasted chicken and schnitzel.

 

In between dinner and dessert, we made a few L’Chaims with beer and Jameson and sung songs and niggunim. A few of us got up and started dancing a la Peretz Chein, the shaliach at Chabad of Brandeis, who is famous for standing up on tables and dancing to song. We then ate a smorgasbord of desserts, including chocolates, rugelach and a peach pie.

 

The company, food and conversations reminded me of the realization that I’d had back when I was studying in Israel: participating in Jewish traditions, even something as simple as a Shabbat dinner, makes me feel more connected to my Jewish identity.

 

Now, the next time a friend asks me about my Judaism, I can proudly say I’ve studied in Israel, found a Jewish community, and even hosted my own Shabbat dinner – all thanks to my involvement with Masa Israel.

 

Originally publish in "The Jewish Advocate".

The Times of Israel: The Real Story of the 'Israel Backpack'

The Times of Israel: The Real Story of the 'Israel Backpack'

The Times of Israel: The Real Story of the 'Israel Backpack'

June 28, 2016

By Liran Avisar-Ben Horin, CEO of Masa Israel Journey

 

In Israel, you see backpacks everywhere. They’re on the beach, on the bus, on hiking trails, on the banks of the Jordan River. Many of them sport insignia connecting them to an organized trip or sponsored tour. We would know, we’ve given out more than 110,000 of them over the past 12 years.

These backpacks come in handy when Masa Israel Journey’s more than 12,000 participants every year head to work or class, take a day trip to explore the country, or visit new friends from countries all over the world that they’ve met along their journeys in Israel.

 

The packs last much longer than an individual’s time in Israel, and they carry so much more than their physical contents. The bags we give out are not simply souvenirs, they are instruments—a critical tool in facilitating personal journeys, both figuratively and literally.

 

“Masa” in Hebrew means “journey;” the Masa Israel experience includes both a significant inner personal journey alongside an outward physical journey. When a young person spends an extended amount of time in any foreign country, let alone Israel, he or she starts to live like a local.

 

You see the beautiful, the ugly, the good, and the bad—you live your life alongside Israeli citizens. You walk in the streets with them, go to the market to buy your groceries with them, live next to them, work with them and see the cultural gaps when you interact with them. You sling their backpack over their shoulder just like they do.

 

We equip our participants with new backpacks as encouragement to explore, to immerse themselves in their surroundings. They come to understand the intangibles of Israel’s history, culture and current political state, and, in turn, strengthen their sense of self.

 

A key part of our educational vision is for our participants to reflect on their experience while they’re in Israel. Their backpacks’ physical appearance, with their own scuffs and scars, tell a story parallel to their personal journeys. A spilled cup of coffee here, a few specks of dirt from a recent hike there; the memory of their experiences abroad lives on through the bag.

 

These backpacks are not simply receptacles for possessions along the journey. They are the physical manifestations of each participant’s often entangled relationships with the Jewish people, the State of Israel and their own spirituality. The packs represent the new knowledge, skills, experiences and connections that participants collect throughout their time in Israel. Just as the backpacks last much longer than the programs themselves, so do the participants’ connections to Jewish life and each other. Masa Israel participants become part of a community forever united by their life-changing experiences in Israel.

 

The backpacks we distribute are a vessel for Jews between the ages of 18 and 30 – many of whom are not formally affiliated in the Jewish community – and are the same demographic described in Pew’s now infamous 2013 survey of Jewish Americans, to engage with Israel for a significant off-the-bus experience. Our goal is to allow participants to nurture a relationship with both native Israelis and Jews from around the world, which in turn empowers them to understand what’s at stake when it comes to the continuity of both the Jewish people and the State of Israel. In other words, the backpacks – and long-term experiences in Israel as a whole – serve to foster a level of depth in relating to Israel that has concrete results for Jews as a larger Diaspora community.

 

The backpacks provide a way for alumni to continue their lifelong journeys with a physical reminder of the transformative time they spent in Israel and the global community they have become a part of for life. This community is far more than a social network; it serves as a platform for connecting with professional opportunities, resources, and leadership development.

 

So, the next time you see a backpack with Masa Israel’s logo on it, take a look at the person carrying it and take a moment to think about where he or she has been, and more importantly, where they are headed.

 

Originally published in "The Times of Israel".

 

Jerusalem Post: Seeing it as it really is

Jerusalem Post: Seeing it as it really is

Jerusalem Post: Seeing it as it really is

June 24, 2016

By Carmit Sapir Weitz

 

"In cooperation with Masa, Israel Experience has established a database of over 1,000 companies and non-profits that accept thousands of young Jews from around the world to work in internships for a period of between two to 10 months. Companies and institutions like HP, Deloitte, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Wix, the Jaffa Institute, Ahava, and Hadassah University Medical Center all hire interns through Israel Experience. In addition to interning, the young people participate in Hebrew language courses and meet with peers and immigrants from their country of origin."

Arutz Sheva: Idan Raichel to receive citation for cultural contribution

Arutz Sheva: Idan Raichel to receive citation for cultural contribution

Arutz Sheva: Idan Raichel to receive citation for cultural contribution

June 23, 2016

By Shai Landesman

 

"The Idan Raichel Project represents the beating heart of a conflicted region that has become a source of inspiration for younger generations, aiming for a better future. This is true for international audiences who are enriched by Raichel’s energy and see in him an exceptional vision of Israel open to the world. Their excitement during the many performances Raichel has made to “Birthright” and “Masa” audiences is contagious. This is a testimony to their familiarity with the vast body of his work that has already entered the pantheon of Israeli music."