Past Review

By (Fine and Studio Arts., SMFA - School of the Museum of Fine Arts) for

Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design: Jerusalem - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I got everything I was hoping for out of this program, a rich experience and a strong body of work because of it.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+
The term and year this program took place: Fall 2010

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I found the academics to be very strong in that the teachers are very supportive in each student’s work, specifically outside of class. They are also very encouraging in any and all experimentation that a student is interested. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to navigate the administrative system at Bezalel as it is a very disorganized in instances such as changing the holiday schedule in the middle of the semester, or removing myself and several other exchange students from a class 2 months into the semester to be redistributed to another class. It is also very difficult to enroll in classes as an exchange student as there are only a certain number of slots available and native students are able to register beforehand. As a third year student, I was also unable to register for any classes at my level, but I was lucky in that the teachers are very laid back, and I found it easy to find time to do my own work along with completing the homework assignments. The exhibition space was constantly rotating student’s work so there was always an opportunity to see what other students were working on as well as showing your own work.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My on-site administrator was very helpful, and replied to all of my e-mails and questions. I only wish that there was more information on this program available to me.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was lucky enough to find an apartment through a family a friend which ended up being the absolute perfect living situation. Bezalel does offer housing on the campus dorms with Hebrew University students, and the program coordinator at Bezalel sent a few listings out for apartments that were available. I lived on the French Hill which is about a 30 min walk or 5 minute bus ride to the Hebrew University campus. The bus into the city takes about 40 minutes, and it’s a 20 minute walk if you want to head in on Shabbat. A cab ride usually will cost 30 ils after negotiation. I ended up rooming with two great girls, one from Barcelona in the same Bezalel program with me, and the other from Russia, but was already a matriculated full time student at Hebrew University. The combination was perfect in that I already knew someone who had experience with the city and someone new who went out with the other international students too.

* Food:

The food in Israel is Ama-Zing! One of my favorite places in Jerusalem would have to be the shuk, and I definitely frequented it pretty often. It’s a combination of so many cultures, smells and culture all in one outdoor market. The prices are always competitive, and there is always something interesting and new to try. The fruits and vegetables in Israel are unlike anything else. Everything is so potent and rich with flavor. Definitely get the watermelon when it’s in season during the summer, and the hummus and salads made fresh in the shuk are always a key staple along with the freshly made pita and bread.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There is always so much going on here. During Shabbat, things are definitely on the slower side so I’d recommend taking a cab into the city at night, or taking a trip for the weekend. Everything is so diverse here as far as cultures, geography, and history go. From Jerusalem to the North, Israel is full of lush green lands and beautiful mountains. South of Jerusalem is the barren desert and Dead Sea. There is so much to experience in this melting pot of a country!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Despite what many people see on the news, Israel is a relatively safe country. There are always safety checkpoints going in and out of buildings and cities so this style of living has become the norm. Not once during this semester did I feel personally or physically threatened. The type of student who comes to study in Israel is someone who is aware of themselves and their surroundings at all times. This isn’t the country for carelessness.

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)


Language acquisition improvement?

I would recommend the ulpan classes to anyone who has very little or no experience in Hebrew. I have heard very positive feedback on the class as well as the teacher. Unfortunately, the class is an extra cost to the program so I was unable to participate. Most people in Jerusalem speak a little bit of English so it is relatively easy to get around. If you are willing to break your teeth a little on the language, most Israelis are very appreciative and helpful in your practice. There is usually someone around you who speaks enough English to help no matter where you are in the country.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Please, enjoy every moment and opportunity you get here. There is so much to take in and experience. Take advantage of it!