Shlomo Lifshitz

Americans, Stop Being Freierim (Suckers)!

Why do you insist on paying so much in a system that gives you so little in return?

Here’s a free Hebrew lesson. Freier (plural: Freierim); noun: a slang term meaning sucker, patsy, chump, or dupe. A freier is the guy who pays too much for his iPhone, gets sold a lemon at the used car dealership, or otherwise lets himself be cheated in life. We’ve all been in that unenviable position before and know the stinging sensations of shame and bitterness for having been deceived. But generally, people aren’t habitually freierim, getting cheated over and over. That’s what makes the situation in the United States today so puzzling – and frustrating – for outside observers.

Rethinking American Approaches to School and Employment

Most young people in the US today are, unfortunately, living in a ridiculous situation, being bilked in some of the most basic needs of modern life: education and employment. Taken together, they add up to a hopeless rat race where a shrinking minority successfully navigate the system while most struggle with sagging wages, a stagnant job market, and skyrocketing tuition.

When a young man or woman graduates high school and enters adulthood, they face the increasingly daunting task of choosing a career with minimal life experience or knowledge of market demands, all while dishing out $25,000 (public) or $50,000 (private) a year for school, racking up debts they can only hope will be paid off by landing some dream job after college. And remember, we’re talking about the best case scenario; kids from middle or upper class backgrounds who can afford to spend four, five, or six years in college and who have the scholastic ability to make it in higher education.

They endure this and put themselves massively in debt based on the assumption that the education they receive at college gives them the necessary perquisites to make it big out in the real world. But paradoxically, as prices have risen, the actual quality of higher education in America has declined.

The subprime college education crisis

Schools are in the midst of a massive administration boom, hiring educational bureaucrats while neglecting faculty and full-time staff. In fact, even as the number of school administrators has swelled in recent years, the number of regular, full-time professors has declined, despite the rise in enrollment. To compensate, the teaching burden is being shifted from regular faculty members to part-time teachers or even teaching assistants.

College degree yes, career no

Much has been made of the sluggish economy and its impact on the job market and the ability of young job seekers to find gainful employment. And while there is a great deal of truth to this, it gives only a partial explanation of why so many seemingly qualified college grads are either “unemployed”, working in low level capacities that really only require a high school diploma.

The reality is that while quality employment is harder to come by than a decade ago, millions of higher end positions remain unfilled. That’s because employers have wised up to grade inflation and are increasingly dismissive of even the most glowing transcripts, favoring work experience and demonstrable skills over GPAs and academic resumes. Even the vaunted Ivy League schools have seen alumni recruitment rates into the market place fall as employers reported favoring state school grads in most fields.

As degrees count for less and less, job recruiters increasingly look to the types of qualifications which are not earned in college, such as internships, work references and recommendations, and a varied set of life experiences indicating that the individual is versatile, mature, and is able to build working relationships with her or his peers.

Stop the madness: Pay less, get more

While Americans might believe this slide towards student misery is inevitable, the truth is there are solutions to all of the problems currently afflicting American grads and college students. Don’t be freierim!

Here in Israel, students are not inflicted with impossibly expensive tuition and a college education which no longer guarantees a career.

Many of us here in Israel can’t understand why this ridiculous situation exists in America, and even seems to be getting worse. We want to help. That’s why Lirom Global Education – Study in Israel is offering solutions for American students. Our goal is to make Israel the refuge for overseas students fleeing the educational crisis. Think of us as your GPS for higher education; we help you reach your goals while avoiding the pitfalls and detours.

To that end, Israel offers a wide range of programs for high school students and rising seniors, college students, and graduates. No matter what stage you are in your educational career, we have the solutions to help you succeed.

The kind of quality education employer’s love

To give American students solutions to the problems they face at home, we’re committed to reducing the cost of education. That’s why our programs are competitively priced and offer so much bang for the buck. But affordability isn’t enough; the other half of the education crisis is the decline in quality and the inability of so many college grads to land a career.

That’s why Lirom has teamed up with leading colleges in Israel to create programs which address the specific needs you’ll face after graduation when searching for a job. You’re spending years in college and tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars; why waste it? We want you to get the most out of your education.

Our Academic Gap Year and Semester programs give you a strong academic background in the field of our choice while you immerse yourself in an exotic foreign culture, learning Hebrew and touring the country. We offer a dual bachelor degrees track in business (BA) and law (LL.B) in Israel. This program is for motivated students who are looking for an international experience that offers the best of both worlds.


Don’t be a freier! Get the best education – not just the most expensive

Higher education isn’t just about receiving a piece of paper at the end. Though many times we lose sight of it, college is really about getting the knowledge, skills, experience, and connections that enable graduates to go out and succeed in the market. But all too often, even good schools become degree mills, churning out GINOs (grads in name only). Other times, grads leave college able to pontificate on a range of obscure topics and flex an enhanced vocabulary, but are unable to think independently and lack any marketable skills.

Lirom’s programs were designed with these problems in mind. It’s a large part of the reason we feel that Israel is such an ideal destination for overseas students, since Israeli schools emphasize the kind of “soft skills” and innovative thinking that American employers look for. It isn’t called the ‘Start-Up Nation’ for nothing. We want to help you – no matter where you are in your educational career – to experience the Israeli educational model and broaden your horizons. You’ll go back home with the skills and confidence to stand out from your peers. And best of all, you won’t be a freier.

About the Author
With over 30 years of experience, Shlomo (Momo) Lifshitz was the founder and president of Oranim Educational Initiatives, which at its peak was the largest operator of Birthright-Taglit tours. Oranim has run over 1,201 Birthright groups. After selling Oranim in 2012, Momo turned his sights to promoting educational programs to Israel, and serves as the director of Study in Israel LLC and Lirom Global Education, promoting the and brands.
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