So You're Feeling Homesick at Home: 8 Ways to Deal With Reverse Culture Shock

<div class="masa-blog-title">So You're Feeling Homesick at Home: 8 Ways to Deal With Reverse Culture Shock</div>

By Rachel Greenberg, Nativ alumna


It’s hard feeling like a stranger in your own home, but just as you needed time to adjust when you got to Israel, so too you need time to adjust back to life here in the United States of America.


When you were in Israel, you probably did not realize how much you changed every day, but you did. You learned from everyone around you, picked up new mannerisms, and adapted completely to a totally new lifestyle. So what happens now that you’re home? You’re not the same person you were when you left, but everything around you remains seemingly unchanged.

Here are some tips to help you deal with reverse culture shock:


1. Share your experiences

Now that you’re home it may seem like you’re alone, but your friends, family, and community  do want to hear about how you lived like a local, became a master negotiator in the shuk, and found your way around Israel via public transportation. Plus, if you become a mentor for others who want to go abroad, you will always have an attentive audience to share your story with!


alt="Become a Masa Alumni Mentor and help the next generation start the journey."


2. Stay Informed

If you’re feeling out of the loop, check social media and Israeli news sites to stay up-to-date with current events in Israel. This will not only help you feel connected, but you’ll be able to talk to other alumni and friends about what’s going on in Israel.


3. Write About It

Sometimes, the best way to express your feelings about your experience abroad is to write about. Writing allows you to positively articulate your feelings and express you sentiments about your recent return to America. Ten years from now, you will look back at something you wrote and you and make yourself fall in love with Israel all over again. Not to mention, we’re always looking for awesome alumni bloggers. (Email Andria at for more information.)


4. Stay connected

It's helpful to have people in your life who shared experiences with you in Israel. While you can reminisce with them about hikes and nights out, they're also experiencing the same emotions as you, and they're the only ones who are able to understand how you’re feeling without words. People you met abroad will be some of your closest friends no matter where you all end up living. The best part about staying connected with people you met abroad is traveling to see them for reunions!


"Reunite with your Masa squad and network with Alumni at a Shalom U'Lehitraot Party"


5. Seek new experiences

Find hidden gems in your area, get excited and have yourself a little adventure. Being home doesn’t mean you have to go back to your same old routine: meet new people, explore your surroundings, and try new things. You’d be surprised to find out how many places you don’t know about.


6. Make a Schedule

In America, one part of you will want to see everyone you haven’t seen in months, and the other part of you may want to stay in bed and look at pictures and videos from your time in Israel. Plan time in your schedule to reminisce, but also try to get back into your life at home by creating a schedule.


7. It’s okay to miss Israel

Whatever you feel when you get back from a life changing experience is okay. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to laugh, it’s okay to plan a trip back, but it is important to not let missing Israel consume you. When you miss it, let yourself acknowledge the amazing experience you just had and use that emotion to realize how much you learned. You miss it because of how much you loved the experience and you wouldn’t want it any other way.


8. Let yourself process

Feel it. Dive in face first to everything your feeling. Embrace your emotions and give yourself permission to relax, absorb and really think about your time abroad. Be patient with yourself as you undergo the many different emotions and changes that come along with re-entry to America.


9. Rock your Israeli Look

Instead of trying to revert back to your old American fashion, wear your Naot in the summer, keep your new piercings with pomegranate studs, and rock your genie pants in the supermarket!

Reminisce about your Masa and Israeli experience here.


7 More Reasons to Study Abroad at TAU: The Beaches

<div class="masa-blog-title">7 More Reasons to Study Abroad at TAU: The Beaches</div>

It’s Thursday at 3:00 PM and your classes at Tel Aviv University just wrapped up for the week.

You could go to the shuk, you could eat falafel, you could go on a run, you could eat more falafel – or wait you could go to the beach. That’s right, you’re not only studying at one of the world’s leading universities but also studying right next to some of the world’s best beaches.

Put your books down this weekend, grab your sunscreen, your squad, and hit the sand!

Here are 7 More Reasons to Study Abroad at TAU:


1. Banana Beach
Located on the southernmost edge near Jaffa this beach is home to Friday night drum circles, hula hooping-bikini wearing girls, endless games of Matkot and sunbather after sunbather. Think of it as a Bohemian paradise right next to Tel Aviv.


2. Gordon Beach, Frishman Beach, Bograshov Beach
Welcome to beach-mania. These three beaches offer endless white sand, beautiful people and the perfect dose of sunshine. Located right in the center of Tel Aviv these beaches offer a great getaway with tons of bars and restaurants. Each beach is the perfect place to catch the addicting Tel Aviv sunset plus, there’s a Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream stand at Gordon Beach. #YUM

3. Trumpeldor Beach
Walking down the beach in Tel Aviv you’ll spot an unusual statue and you know you’ve arrived at Trumpeldor Beach. This is a quieter beach amongst its neighbors since there are no facilities or lifeguards.

4. Jerusalem Beach
Formerly known as Geula Beach, Jerusalem Beach is located right off Allenby Street and near the very well-known Opera Tower building. You’ll find falafel shops and bodegas everywhere, so don’t worry about packing snacks for the day. It’s not touristy and is the perfect spot to meet all your friends for a relaxing beach day.

5. Tel Baruch Beach
Tel Baruch Beach may be one of Israel’s cleanest beaches. Fully equipped with green lawns, outdoor workout area, and seaside café it’s the perfect escape from a long week of classes or a big night out. 

6. Metzitzim Beach
If you wake up early enough on a Friday or Saturday morning,  take a stroll down Namal Tel Aviv, and  grab a coffee while you check out Metzitzim Beach. It’s more family oriented but offers 3 volleyball courts and an outdoor workout area. If that’s not your thing, however, keep walking north and you’ll catch twenty-something Israelis sipping Goldstar and hanging out.

7. The Surfer’s Beach at the Hilton Hof HaGolshim
Besides beautiful people watching all day long check out The Surfer’s Beach and prepare to be amazed at the skill, the surf, and the boys. It’s a hot spot to kayak or learn how to paddle board too!


Interested in studying right on the beach and soaking up every ounce of that wonderful Tel Aviv sun? Check out Tel Aviv University’s study abroad program!



5 Classes You Can Only Take in Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">5 Classes You Can Only Take in Israel</div>

Did college really happen if you didn’t study abroad? When you study abroad in Israel you’re able to take classes you can’t take anywhere else.

From diving deep into environmental studies at The Arava Institute to gaining the mad skills needed to build your own startup at the Technion, we promise to study abroad in Israel will not only change your life but also boost your career.

That’s why we’re here to give you 5 Awesome Classes You Can Only Take in Israel!

Without further ado allow us to introduce you to:

1. Peace-building Leadership Summit, from The Arava Institute, located at Kibbutz Ketura

Whether you choose to study abroad for a semester or a year, the Arava Institute will surely expand your mind. Each student at the institute will participate in the weekly Peace-building Leadership Summit. You’ll engage in deep dialogue that explores the issues of race, religion, culture and coexistence with fellow students from Jordan, Palestine, Israel and North America!


2. Innovation Management from Technion International, located in Haifa

Do you ever wonder how new technology can take over a nation, or how come every time the new iPhone comes out you have to have it? Through Technion’s Innovation Management, course you’ll discover what drives technological innovation and the media’s role in presenting innovations to the general public. You’ll be exposed to the impact of journalism on technology, and the impact of technology on journalism. Overall, this course will prepare you to read the global trends in innovation and strategically position yourself for success. 



3. The Circle of Life – From Birth to Old Age from Tel Aviv University, located in Tel Aviv

If you’re pre-Med or looking to jumpstart a career in the medical field, then TAU’s Voyage to Medicine program is the perfect fit for you. You can take classes like The Circle of Life and explore medical ethical issues; gain knowledge about human development and most of all take field trips to the IDF’s Medical Corps training base. Talk about being fully immersed in Israel!



4. Derech Hatgar/ Hagalim  Project, from IDC Herzliya located in Herzliya

As part of your semester or year abroad, help at-risk youth learn challenges and triumphs of sports! You’ll coach up to three kids ages 14-17 years-old on everything from homework to basketball to the thrills of life for college credit. You’ll get to shoot hoops and make a difference (while shining up your resume).

5. From Idea to Start-Up from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva

Do you crave adventure? Have you jotted down millions of business ideas but need that final push? Enroll for a semester at Ben-Gurion University and turn your idea into a reality in the class “From Idea to Start-Up.” You’ll focus on the phases of venture development and spark your entrepreneurship skills with top-notch academic guidance.

Whoa! You’re probably thinking you’ve got to take one of these classes! No worries, talk to a Masa Israel rep today.
However, if you didn’t see the perfect class for yourself Israel has several universities offering hundreds of programs. Check out to find your perfect match.


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:




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 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".