Jerusalem vs. London: Trade gray skies for blue skies next semester

<div class="masa-blog-title">Jerusalem vs. London: Trade gray skies for blue skies next semester</div>

By: Andria Kaplan Aylyarov


Under the gray skies in the Queen’s land, you can sip tea and eat curry on your semester abroad.


You could even chase down Prince Harry.


If catching Prince Harry is too hard, you can chase others on horses.


Don’t fancy the above? Then it’s time to trade the traditional for the untraditional. Go somewhere that defies exciting. Spend your semester abroad in Jerusalem.  


You’re probably thinking right now, “Why would I want to spend my semester abroad with rabbis and synagogues.” Fortunately, you’re in luck because Jerusalem offers much more.


You’ll experience music festivals in the craziest places, like in the Negev and on the shores of the Dead Sea.


You won’t have to be troubled by standing in a queue for the little things like coffees and takeaways. Because in Israel the persona of a *line* doesn’t exist.


Like waiting in line, when the Israeli’s want something, they go get it. It’s the same in the workplace, on the field or in school. You’ve probably heard of all this before since Israel is one of the world’s leading countries for tech and innovation.

On your semester abroad you’ll have the opportunity to be a part of all of this. Every class in Israel is known to take things above and beyond. Why
take notes when you can do:


Don’t let us forget about the pub life you’ll experience in this Holy City. Jerusalem’s beer scene is off the map. You have the shuk that transforms from veggie and falafel stands to Beer Bazaar’s and live music before your very own eyes.

Let me guess, though, you want to study in London because you’ve been fascinated by castles since you were a kid. The only thing better than experiencing Windsor Castle would be experiencing the untouched wonders of Israel’s castles – which I’m assuming you had no idea existed.

Take a day trip to these:

Belvoir Fortress, located in the Northern Galilee


Apollonia, located in Arsuf, Israel

Atlit Castle and Castle Pilgrim, Haifa, Israel


Most importantly is the food. You cannot study abroad and not dine on delicious meals. You do could as the British do and eat curry or you can do as the Israeli’s do and munch on all-of-this:


When you’re ready to think outside of the box and make the most out  of college, we’re here. Get in touch with Masa Israel today and get your life started.

Andria Kaplan Aylyarov is a Masa Israel Alumna and content marketing specialist for Masa Israel Journey. She loves a good glass of white wine and wishes she was 85-years-old and living in Boca, but she currently resides in Brooklyn.


3 College Experiences You Can Only Have at The Technion

<div class="masa-blog-title">3 College Experiences You Can Only Have at The Technion</div>

Experience the unique opportunity of studying abroad at The Technion where the limits of engineering are pushed to the edge. You’ll be challenged at one of the world’s most innovative universities and have an intensive course track tailored specifically for you.



The Technion is ranked 1st Worldwide for Innovation in a Challenging Environment and is the proud home to 18 departments, 60 advanced research centers and boasts a notable faculty of over 600.



Start your innovative immersion experience in Engineering and Science, Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Humanities at Technion International by checking out these three classes only offered here:


1. Social Ventures
Learn today’s business models, tools and theories to build and sustain social ventures. Through interactive lectures, web discussion, and
student led presentations you’ll share ideas and inspire those around you.

2. Neubauer American Entrepreneurship, 3-Day-Startup
In the midst of your semester abroad get a real taste of startup life through this 3-Day-Startup course. You’ll go through the motion of starting a company to get acquainted with the ever-so-catchy Technion spirit.

3. History and Theory of Industrial Design 2: From WW11 to Contemporary
From the beginning of pop culture to the rise of the hi-tech industry and everything in between this course will teach you all aspects relevant to the development of industrial design and the role of the designer. 


To get a dose of student life at Technion checks out this video: 


Fun Fact: Did you know that Technion is tied with MIT for winning the 8th most Nobel Prizes since 2000. Who wouldn’t want to be a Technion alumnus?


This one time on my Masa Israel program…

<div class="masa-blog-title">This one time on my Masa Israel program…</div>

Video: Cash Cab episode recently  re-aired on Mako


Sometimes living in Israel I encounter things that really jog my memory. Every colorful scene, aromatic walk through the streets, or even just surfing my social media feeds (Thank you #ThrowBackThursday!) reminds me of a good time from my Masa Israel experience. 


That is what happened this morning. I opened my Facebook feed to see a suggested video from Mako, a popular Israeli television station. The video was an episode of Cash Cab—in this game show meets transportation service participants have the chance to win money by answering trivia questions on the ride to their destination. I love to test my trivia knowledge, so I pressed play only to see four familiar faces. There they were -- David (Los Angeles), Thalia (Argentina), Dov (France), and Grant (Texas) — friends of mine from my time as a Masa participant on Destination Israel’s Tel Aviv Internship Experience.




In the episode they tell the cab driver to take them to beachside club, Clara, and that was the ticket to this trip down memory lane. Clara? Yea, I remember that night! Our whole program was there for a party. When you’re on the program these people become your family so going out to something together was a common occurrence. We were all waiting in line for various groups of us to arrive (you can’t fit 30 people in one cab) when the four of them walk up with huge smiles on their faces, yelling and laughing with excitement.


“What’s up guys? What took you so long?”


“We just won 4,500 shekel! We were on Israeli Cash Cab!”


Needless to say, this was a good omen for the night. We had a great time dancing the night away with the sea breeze keeping things cool; a nice break from working hard at our internships. And of course, we made memories to last us a lifetime.


Written by Amy Albertson


5 Reasons Studying Abroad in Jerusalem Trumps Rome

<div class="masa-blog-title">5 Reasons Studying Abroad in Jerusalem Trumps Rome</div>

If you want to study abroad amongst ancient ruins and gorgeous people Rome might come to mind, but have you considered Jerusalem?

There’s no other place in the world where in the same day you can jog down 5,000 year-old-streets, sip cold brew on a rooftop, and awe at beautiful people, all while studying amongst the some of the brightest minds the world has to offer.

Here are 5 Reasons Studying Abroad in Jerusalem Trumps Rome:


The History

Rome is home to 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites but Jerusalem is home to 5,000 years of West meets East plus World Heritage Sites. You’ll experience not only churches but also mosques and temples that date back to ancient times. 


The People

There’s no doubt that Romans are some of the most unique people in the world, whose hearts are bursting with a rich history, but would you rather have the chance to live with one cultural group or like a million. Wherever you walk in Jerusalem you’ll run into people from Armenia, Morocco, Poland, Hungary, Russia, France, Persia, Yemen and many, many more. 


source: Time of Israel

The Food

If you’re the foodie type then you’ve probably already researched the top foods to eat in both cities. You’ve come across the renowned Jewish artichoke that can be found in Rome’s old Jewish ghetto. Yes, this tasty fried artichoke is nothing but mouthwatering deliciousness. But why eat a Jerusalem artichoke in Rome when you can eat them in Jerusalem.

We suggest trying the artichokes at:




The Nightlife

Although the party scene might not be the first thing you think of when you hear the word Jerusalem, we beg you to differ. When the sunsets in the Holy City the vibe changes. Cafes turn into nightclubs and young people left and right are out and about. Rumor even has it one of the best bartenders in the world is now residing in Jerusalem,Kfir Bahar, the mad cocktail designer of The Great Gatsby Cocktail Room.


The Language

If you’ve done your research on Jerusalem then it’s no surprise to you that you don’t need to know Hebrew in order to have a great experience. English is the 3rd unofficial language of Israel and can be found on everything from street signs to menus. You will also find that nearly all of the population is fluent.


Written by: Andria Kaplan Aylyarov


Why the Jerusalemite Hipsters and Food are just better than Prague

<div class="masa-blog-title">Why the Jerusalemite Hipsters and Food are just better than Prague</div>

The Hipsters

Ahh, because if it isn’t Hipster, it isn’t cool. Little be known to the world that the hub of Hipsters is not only Prague but Jerusalem too. Winding down the old stone streets of Jerusalem, you’ll find young Israeli’s lighting their hand-rolled cigarettes and sipping local beer. Trendy new restaurants pop up every other day and the fashion sense is well outside of cultural mainstreams.



The Attire

If you’re looking to study abroad in Prague, you’ll have to get your outfits on point. Dresses and heels are the norm but do not vibe well with the old cobblestone streets. Who needs high heels anyways? If you study abroad in Jerusalem, the fashion sense is stylish and chill. Throw your Birkenstocks on in the summer and your leather boots on in the winter, and hit the streets.



The Beer

We all know that in Prague beer is cheaper than water, but what if you could be part of an up and coming craft beer scene? Israel is becoming known as the Brewish State, get it? For the past several years craft beer bars have been popping up left and right on the streets of Jerusalem. Pictured below: Jerusalem Beer Bazar


So you tell us what’s cooler. Be part of something already happening or making something happening?



The People (Other than the Hipsters)

Your semester abroad has to be something to remember, from the food to the people. The word on the street is that Czech’s are quiet and reserved. Come to Jerusalem and you’ll soon find yourself having dinner with the man’s family you just bought a tomato from in the shuk or better yet meeting new, local friends on your first day.



The Food


The average person studies abroad in their junior year, so by the time you pick your city you’ve already been all too familiar with the freshman 15. WARNING: The Czech cuisine is full of meat and potatoes making it very heavy. Come to Jerusalem and reap the benefits of the ever-so-healthy Mediterranean diet.



Written by: Andria Kaplan Aylyarov



6 Reasons Why Studying Abroad in Tel Aviv Beats Florence

<div class="masa-blog-title">6 Reasons Why Studying Abroad in Tel Aviv Beats Florence</div>

It might sound attractive to turn those late night pizza cravings into reality by studying abroad in Florence, but wait, there’s a better option. Every late night craving you’ve ever had can become a reality if you study abroad in Tel Aviv.

Here are 6 Reasons Why Studying Abroad in Tel Aviv Beats Florence:

The People
In Florence the only people you’ll ever meet are Italians, but if you come to Tel Aviv you’ll meet people from around the globe. Its city known around the world for being multi-cultural and with a population made up of 18-34-year-olds you’ll fit right into the mix.



The Language
Learning a new language can be rewarding—but tough. Good thing English is the 3rd unofficial language of Israel. Nearly every restaurant, bar, and street sign are written in English. #NeverGetLost


The Beaches
Florence is home to maybe one or two miles beaches, but 
why settle for two when you can live in Tel Aviv and have 8 miles of beaches.


The Nightlife

No doubt Florence has some of the best nightlife in Europe, but Tel Aviv is known for being the South Beach of the Middle East, dubbed the city that never sleeps, and was even named one of the 28 places to visit before you die. Say hello to partying around the clock.


source: Business Insider

The Food
What do you get when you mix culture after culture together? You get the tastiest food scene that exists on the planet. No matter if it’s 3:00 PM or 3:00 AM you can find anything from pizza to shawarma, to hummus, to sushi.




The History

You may be thinking Tel Aviv is nothing but a party, but you’ve thought wrong. On any given day you can walk the old port city of Jaffa and shop in hundred-year-old markets or see where the first Jewish immigrants laid eyes on the Promised Land.



Written by: Andria Kaplan Aylyarov


It’s Time to Trade the Irish Jig for the Yemenite Step: Study Abroad in Jerusalem

<div class="masa-blog-title">It’s Time to Trade the Irish Jig for the Yemenite Step: Study Abroad in Jerusalem </div>

Unsurprisingly, Ireland is a popular study abroad destination for American students, particularly in Dublin. If you’re looking to hear eclectic accents in a friendly nation with great stouts Dublin would be a solid choice, but what if you could experience richer accents, better stouts with friendlier people?

Why not give Jerusalem a try! Here’re 5 reasons too:

The Stout

The Irish culture will forever claim fame for producing the stout, Guinness which is loved by all dark beer enthusiasts. We hate to rain on the Guinness parade, though, but the stout from the Herzl Microbrewery in Jerusalem isn’t one to mess with it. Plus, the labels are bangin.’



If you’re looking to study abroad in Dublin then you are all too familiar with Irish river dancing or the Irish jig, which is like totally cool, unless you’ve seen the Yemenite Step reworked into electronic–folk-funk by the all-girl band, A-WA. 

Get your step-dancing-ness rocked below:

The Castles

The Blarney Castle in Dublin is a sight to see along with all of the rest. The Irish castles are of medieval times and are of the same style you’ll see all throughout Europe, which could get boring after a semester.

If you really want to get excited about castles, Israel has several to see. Israel is actually home to the most crusader castles in the world. Built hundreds of years ago, these stone fortresses still stand today and are easily accessible.  Check out the ones below:

Belvoir Fortress, located in the Northern Galilee


Apollonia, located in Arsuf, Israel


Atlit Castle and Castle Pilgrim, Haifa, Israel


The Foooood

Irish cuisine is known to fill a person up and it’s especially needed after partaking in the festivities of football games but would you really want to spend five months eating Shepard’s pie and stew? Why not spend five months eating Moroccan stew and all-of-this:


The Gingers
Dublin is home to some of the world’s friendliest people and everyone thinks a ginger is adorable c’mon.


Think you can’t one up an adorable Irish ginger? Wrong. Rumor has it Kind David was a redhead and some even say Israel is home to more redheads than any other country. Six percent of Israel’s total population has red hair. There’s even a conference held in Israel every year for Ginger Jews! 


Hello, there are cute gingers everywhere!! If you don’t believe us check out Nurit Benchetrit’s work, The Beautiful Gingers Project.

source: Israel21c

And check out
 Israeli Knesset Member, Stav Shiffir (pictured below).


Anyways, besides the cute gingers Jerusalem is home to a diverse population and we think why to spend your semester abroad immersed in one culture when you can immerse yourself in hundreds! In a five minute walk, you could meet people from Morocco, Yemen, Russia, or Hungary.


Why spend a semester abroad in one culture when you could spend it in 5? Put a step, a Yemenite step into your study abroad adventure. Speak with a Masa Israel rep today!


Written by: Andria Kaplan Aylyarov

Cover Image:


Quiz: Where Should You Live in Israel

Ancient Greek Ruins Have Nothing On This

<div class="masa-blog-title">Ancient Greek Ruins Have Nothing On This</div>

A while ago you spent your lovely high school years studying the works of Aristotle and Socrates… while dozing in and out of naps.





Thankfully, you’re in college now and have spent more than enough time in a toga. And if you’re like most Jewish-American college students you’ve already got your taste of Greek culture since you’re probably a member of AEPi, AEPhi, SDT, ZBT or SAM.


<span style="font-size:16px; color:#000000;" "="">source:


But now, that you’re a wee bit older and wiser it’s time to switch up your routine and be different, live on the edge.
It’s time to turn up your college experience and take the class outside of the classroom and COME TO JERUSALEM.


Instead of learning about the history of the world from inside four walls, why not see it every day because no matter what street you walk down in Jerusalem you’re literally walking through history.



Athens may have been the birthplace of modern thinking but Israel is and will be for a long time the birthplace of modern technology and innovation and it looks like the parents of milk and honey won’t stop producing heirs anytime soon. Here're just a few breakthrough companies:


If you’re not the entrepreneur junkie and favor the art scene – don’t worry, Jerusalem’s got you covered.

Living and studying in Jerusalem means you’ll be amongst the best of the best in the country. You’ll take classes alongside soon-to-be prodigies in the area of fine arts like dance and film. Plus, the streets in Jerusalem are packed with young artists from Bezalel too!

Not convinced Jerusalem is better than studying abroad in any European city yet?

Would its hidden nightlife scene in the old industrial spots of Talpiot spark your party side?

What about the prestigious Hebrew University; put that on a resume and you’ll have talking points for dayssss.


What if we told you could fly and see your bigs and littles in European cities for the little cash and have a Snapchat worthy story in an instant?
Then again, why would you leave the paradise you’re already in because living in Jerusalem gives you access to all of this:



Oh, and we didn’t mention the food yet. That’s right. Here in Jerusalem, you’ll surely fall in the love with the Mediterranean diet of greens, rich olive oils and most of all hummus and shawarma. #NOMNOMNOM



Written by: Andria Kaplan Aylyarov


5 Reasons Why Studying in Tel Aviv is Brighter than London, Literally

<div class="masa-blog-title">5 Reasons Why Studying in Tel Aviv is Brighter than London, Literally</div>

It’s time to trade gray and cloudy skies and rain for endless sun and beaches. If you’re the person who craves new experiences and thrives off adventure then say hello to Tel Aviv, your newest study abroad destination. Tel Aviv is packed with markets known as shuks, music festivals that give some of the best in the world a run for their dough.

Here're 5 Reasons Why Studying in Tel Aviv is Brighter than London, Literally:

The Music Festivals

England as a country has established themselves for having quite the rap for being a leader in music festivals dating back to the arrival of the Beatles. Israel, on the other hand, is becoming a top player as well and has secured numerous top bookings this past year like Avicii andSIa. If you’re looking for a music festival experience that’s not based on green fields but pushes it to the edge by being held in the desert, near the Dead Sea, or on the shores of the Galilee then welcome aboard.

Here are 4 Festivals You Must Experience in Israel Before You Die:

Midburn Festival


InDnegev Festival


Minus424 Dead Sea Rave


Doof Festival

The Clock Towers

Why tell time with your Apple watch when you could tell time with hundred-year-old clock towers?  You are in luck my friend because both Tel Aviv and London have enormous clock towers for you to use.

The Big Ben, located in London was built in 1844 and the origin why this clock was built is still unknown. Some say it was named after a famous English boxer, others say it was for the royal family. Either way, it’s great option to replace your Apple watch… if you feel like paying $18.00 dollars, which is the entrance fee. Dunt Da Dunt.

If you would rather spend your dollars elsewhere while studying abroad and see an old Clock Tower amongst ancient ruins then head to Tel Aviv-Yafo and check out Migdal haShaon Yafo, a.k.a. the Jaffa Clock Tower. This Ottoman designed clock tower stands three floors high and sits amongst an old stone promenade which will surely give you gram worthy pics.


The Method of Waiting in Line

The British are known for their polite manner which is why you must never skip the line or cut the queue as they say. You will upset them very much if so.  However, in Israel, you will have a rather different experience, which can be quite amusing. You will never have any idea if the person to your right, left, behind or in front is the beginning or end of the line. Whether you’re waiting for an ice cream, buying something at the Shuk, or getting on the bus just push your way through -- There is no such thing as first or last in line here.

You’ll notice from the way Israelis “wait in line” that the culture is fast paced. Once you arrive in Israel you’ll hit the ground running and opportunities will be at every step of the way.


The Coffee & Tea

The British, although stereotyped to love their tea actually prefer coffee. We apologize for smashing your dreams of having tea parties all the time.

If you do love tea and coffee, Israel has some quite unique offerings. Your program will take you on a few trips to Bedouin villages where you’ll participate in lots of tea drinking, in tents on massive Persian-style rugs.  We promise it will feel surreal.

If you’re a coffee drinker, your taste buds won’t believe the “iced cafes” from Aroma.  Imagine you’re walking to the beach because you’re in the Mediterranean after all and the only way to compliment the glowing tan  you’re about to get is by feasting your lips on mocha colored iced café  that is nothing but pure deliciousness. These bad boys put any Starbucks drink to shame. Plus, all of Aroma’s coffees are served with a little chocolate. #Bonus

The Markets

Rummaging through British antiques, jewelry and munching on small bites sound like the perfect market experience that is if you haven’t experienced the vibrancy and atmosphere of the Israeli “Shuk.” 

Calling all foodies and thrifters everywhere the shuks in Tel Aviv will have you and your wallet smiling from ear to ear. Whether you’re in the famous Shuk HaCarmel that’s filled with falafel spots, tchotchkes, and beer stands or prefers a high-end market like Sarona there’s a shuk for all kinds.



Here’s the top 5 you must check out:

Shuk HaCarmel
Nahalat Binyamin
Shuk Levinsky
Jaffa Flea Market
Sarona Food Market


Written by: Andria Kaplan Aylyarov

Photo credits: Mruwka Photography Israel, Secret Tel Aviv, JTA,