10 Reasons You Should Spend a Semester in Israel

Even if you always planned to study abroad, you may begin to think that taking a whole semester away from your friends and classes is a little too daunting, and consider studying abroad for a summer session instead. But a semester abroad will give you a significantly different experience than a month or two over the summer. Is this really a trade-off you want to make? Here are 10 reasons why you should spend (at least) a semester in Israel.
 
  1. Jewish holidays. A major part of living in Israel is experiencing the chagim. If you come to Israel for a semester or year, you’ll get the high holidays and Hannukah. There is nothing like being in Israel for Yom Kippur and not seeing a single car driving.
     
  2. "The Yoms." What better way to feel like a part of Israel society than to be there for Yom Ha’atzmaut, Yom Hazikaron, Yom Yerushaliyim and Yom HaShoah? Many study abroad alumni name this as the most memorable part of their semester or year, plus there are ceremonies and festival for each holiday all over the country.
     
  3. Weather. Do you really want to go to the Middle East only during the hottest part of the year? Sure, you can go to the beach, but the summer is also jellyfish season…
     
  4. Tourists. Being in Israel during the fall and spring lets you escape the throngs of tourists that come over the summer. Prices of food and souvenirs usually drop during the year too.
     
  5. Learn Hebrew. It's hard to become fluent in a new language in just a month or two, but after a semester or year, even the taxi drivers will be complimenting your accent!
     
  6. Travel. When you study abroad for a semester or a year, you’ll have the chance to use your breaks to travel around Israel and to nearby countries. It might be hard to pack that into a brief summer visit.
     
  7. Friends. Spending a full semester abroad gives you the chance to build friendships with other students from around the world who might not be around for just the summer.
     
  8. Festivals. All the biggest festivals like Yom Hastudentim, Boombamella, Leila Lavan (White Night) and the all-night Yom Ha’atzmaut concerts happen during the year. Don’t miss out on these amazing events buy cutting your study abroad time short.
     
  9. Meet Israelis. Israeli students won’t be around the universities as much over the summer…and isn’t part of the point of coming to Israel making Israeli friends? They don’t come back to school until after the high holidays, so stay for fall or spring semester and get them to show you the real Israel.
     
  10. The Masa Israel Community! If you come for just the summer, you’ll miss out on Masa Israel swag like backpacks and t-shirts, and amazing events like leadership development conferences, movie screening, exclusive concerts and meeting prominent members of Israeli society through the Masa Israel Community!
 
Why do you think studying abroad for a semester or a year is better than going for the summer?
 

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