The not so glamorous, but much more intriguing side of Israel Past Review

By (N/A, Olin College) for

Arava Institute for Environmental Studies: Hevel Eilot - Study Abroad in Israel

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I changed a lot through this experience and I have no regrets. I arrived in Israel wanting to see the "Holy Land," but got much, much more.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Definitely less rigorous than American higher education, but I loved the field trips incorporated into most of the classes. More PowerPoint lectures than I would have liked, at least the classes were small and personal.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very approachable and accessible to students. Decisions were made thoughtfully and respectfully even if I didn't agree with all of them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dorms are laid out such that four double rooms share a common area. This made for excellent daily interaction with others in your unit.

* Food:

The food is nothing special, so make sure to take advantage of potlucks and events.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The field trips were a highlight of the semester - we witnessed waterfalls in the desert, stayed with Palestinian families in the West Bank, and caught reptiles in sand dunes.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

On the kibbutz, safety is a non-issue. Elsewhere in the region, you just need to have common sense and be aware of your surroundings.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Costs are comparable to U.S. prices. The most money I spent was on travel, and even then my spending was very limited.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Most people speak English so it was difficult to practice Hebrew/Arabic. With some personal initiative though, there is definitely the potential to improve your language skills.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

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  • International Students
  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you have any interest at all in the Middle East or the environment, the Arava Institute is an excellent way to experience both.