Before travelling abroad to study, it is always important to do a little bit of research about the country you are going to just to brief and familiarize yourself with the country’s language, history and traditions, among other things. Israel has been a preferred destination for studies abroad because of several reasons. The major reasons are because of its exceptional educational programs and its rich history. CNN and the BBC might have told us about places to visit in Israel, food to eat, beaches to visit, places to avoid, etc., but here are eight amazing things you need to know before opting to study in Israel.
- The three major cities in Israel
Israel is not a huge country. It accounts for only 1% of the land in the Middle East. Despite its small size, the country is extremely diverse with the three major cities offering a rich array of the country’s history.
- Jerusalem; This is the country’s capital and one of the oldest cities in the world. People travel worldwide and meet here because of the city’s diverse history and vibrant cultural scene.
- Tel Aviv: it is the cosmopolitan area of the country because it is mainly constituted of young entrepreneurs. It also plays host to several universities and is re-known for its vibrant night life.
- Haifa; This is the third largest city in the country. It hosts the majority of the working class because it is the location of several industries. It is also a seaport located on the Mediterranean shoreline.
- You do not have to speak Hebrew
One particular misconception that people have is that you will have to speak in Hebrew to get around. However, this is quite not so true. The majority of Israelis can communicate in English. Students in international programs are taught in English, so you won’t have trouble in your classes. However, you should consider learning some of the basic dialects as you will visit the markets and restaurants and interact with the locals. Most of the time, they speak in Hebrew, and besides, learning a few words will make your stay quite enjoyable.
- Shabbat and Jewish holidays
The majority of Israelis observes Shabbat as their day of rest and worship. Shabbat begins at sundown on Friday and end after sundown on Saturday. This means that most businesses close early on Friday and do not open on Saturday till after dusk. If you make plans, then be wary that traffic and shopping on these days is hectic. In Haifa, buses operate due to an edict by the town’s mayor. Also, because it is a multicultural city with less Jews and there is an imminent need of public transportation. In Tel Aviv, some services will be available as all residents are not spiritualist. In Jerusalem, it is impossible to find an open service on Saturday as the majority of the people are religious. This applies to Jewish holidays too. During Yom Kippur holiday, every single business in the whole country is shut down.
Israel is a safe country, contrary to popular belief. They take a keen regard to public security and this is evidenced by the numerous security checks when entering public areas such as bus stations, train stations, malls and public service offices. There is heavy military presence as you walk around and you should not panic when you encounter an armed person as the soldiers carry their guns around even when they are not on duty. It is a good idea to carry any form of identification on you at all times.
- Quality education
One of the major concerns when selecting a university is the quality of the education program you will be attending. Worry not about Israel. It is the third most educated country in the world after the United States. An estimated twenty-four percent of Israel’s workforce holds university degrees – ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland. The major universities considered by international students rank in the top 100 best universities in the world, so you are assured of exceptional quality education. The most popular universities for international students include; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University. Students can also seek online services like to boost their academic endeavors, get help with term paper writing, resumes and CVs.
- Low cost of life
The low cost of life is amazing. It is cheaper to stay in the major cities in Israel as compared to the major cities in the U.S and the U.K. public transportation is cheap and you can even rent out a car at reasonable prices. The cost of food is much more affordable too. Eating out in restaurants does not cost as much as it does in the UK. In addition, there are markets, commonly known as shuks, in every major city where you can buy local dishes at very low prices.
- Fascinating culture and tourist attractions
Israel is one of the countries with a rich historic past. Israel and the city of Jerusalem is mentioned several times in the Bible in the Old Testament. As a result, people travel far and wide to educate themselves on the rich history and culture and also see for themselves the places tourist sites. There are several landmarks that you can visit while studying here. They include; The Red Sea, The Dead Sea, Caesarea National Park, Baha’i Gardens among other tourist attractions. Public transportation is cheap or you can simply walk on foot. Therefore, you don’t have an excuse to miss these amazing historical landmarks while you are in Israel.
- Welcoming community
Here, everyone is welcomed regardless of their religion. There are many Christians and Muslims who live here and are free to practice their religious beliefs and traditions. It is not uncommon to be invited by the locals during Shabbat to partake meals from their homes. Israelis also love strangers and they will take every opportunity they get to practice their English with strangers. Don’t be afraid to ask directions as they will readily direct you when you ask.
In conclusion, I find the Israeli culture amazing. They have quality education and a known fact is that Israel is home to several hi-tech and startup skills as they greatly believe in exceptional education. Coupled with the cheap lifestyle and the rich history and landmark attractions, then I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t choose to study in Israel.