Study in Israel

The homeland for Jewish people, Israel, is holy to three world religions. Through its innovation, entrepreneurship and steely resolve of its people, Israel has been able to transform a desert into a highly developed country. It is also a place where overseas students are coming in greater numbers. Learn here, the opportunities for higher education in Israel, visa requirements, living costs and about the country itself.

Why Israel?


There are many reasons why overseas students should choose Israel for their higher education. Enumerated below, find some of the most important reasons.

  1. Excellent educational set up
    Israel provides a world-class education. Its colleges and institutions are reputed worldwide for imparting quality education at a reasonable cost. Some of the universities in Israel rank amongst the best in the world. Israel is considered the second most educated nation in the world. Undergraduate or graduate studies, you get the best of the education here. A number of Indian students come to study in Israel. As per one count, more than 10% of the foreign students in Israel are Indians.


  2. Language no hurdle
    Not knowing Hebrew is not a problem in Israel. Most Israelis understand English and can also speak it. In the campuses, almost everyone communicates in English, so you do not feel left out. Many of the master's programs are offered in English, thus benefitting everyone who has prior knowledge of English. It will be, however, a nice thing to learn Hebrew. You will be then at a greater advantage, as you will get to understand the Israeli culture from close quarters and will find it easy to interact with locals who are not comfortable with any language other than Hebrew. For learning Hebrew, you may enroll for a short-term language course or hire a private tutor.


  3. A vibrant student life
    It is not only books and studies in Israel. There's a lot more to life in Israel than plain academics. The campus culture in Israel is a cosmopolitan one, with students from all parts of the world coming to Israel and making it a melting point of cultures. You get to make friends with the Israelis as well as other overseas students hailing from different countries. On-campus or off-campus, it is a lot of fun studying in Israel.


  4. Startup nation
    Israel is rightly designated as a startup nation because of its numerous innovations and start-ups that the country comes up with. A lot of hi-tech innovations are taking place, every other day in Israel and is thus revolutionizing the tech scene in the whole of the scientific world. It is said that the world's highest investment per capita in start-up companies is in Israel. Amongst all nations, Israel was judged as the 3rd most innovative countries. By studying in Israel you can thus ingrain in you the start-up culture that is one of the best things to happen in recent times. Few startups that are now very popular companies are Fiverr, Conduit, Wix and the mobile app Waze.


  5. Strength in science and technology
    Israel is a leading country in the field of science and technology. The country spends almost 4.2 % of its entire gross domestic product on research and development. One of the highest per capita filing of patents is achieved by the Israeli population.

  6. A place of historical significance
    Israel has a very long history. It has Jerusalem, the country's capital, as one of the oldest cities in the world. With more than 4,000 years of history, there is a lot to learn about the rich cultural and historical aspects of Israel. For historians, it is a great place to visit and learn its historic past. Israel is a culturally diverse nation because of its Jewish population coming from all parts of the world to make the country their home. Israel is also home to the Palestinians and the Christians that form a significant portion of the country's population. A land revered by three of the world's greatest religions, studying in Israel provides you with a one of a kind experience unique only to this part of the world.


  7. Leisure and sight-seeing
    Israel has plenty to offer in terms of travel and sight-seeing. You can float in the famous Dead Sea, go snorkeling or scuba diving in the Red Sea or visit the Baha'i Gardens in Haifa. There are the sea beaches for you to whale your time during the weekends or go for a hike in the deserts and stand at the edge of the Ramon Crater. You have three great cities to experience, namely Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. These and many other places of historical significance are there for the overseas students to take a break from their studies and experience.


  8. A safe place to study
    Contrary to popular notion, Israel is quite a safe place for international students. Occasional conflicts between the Palestinian population in Israel and the Jews do take place, but they are well under the control of the security forces. It is, however, advisable to follow the security guidelines laid down by the Israeli government from time to time and thus be safe. Through various security measures, the cities and the civilian population are kept safe from any civil strife.

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About Israel

Israel or the State of Israel is a small Middle East country that is located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The country has borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip. To its south is the Red Sea. The state of Israel came into existence as a homeland for the Jewish people. Jews and those with Jewish ancestry from all over the world can come to Israel and have rights to its citizenship. Israel is a country of diverse population, as Jews from diverse backgrounds have come to the place and settled here. It was in the year 1948 that the State of Israel came into existence after the United Nation in 1947 had recommended for the formation of separate Jewish and Arab states. The Jewish leaders had accepted the recommendations and had declared independence. But the Arab leaders were not agreed to the deal that ultimately resulted in the Arab-Israeli war, soon after the creation of the Jewish state in 1948. In subsequent years, Israel fought several wars with the Arab states and got control of West Bank, Golan Heights and Gaza Strip, considered as Palestinian territory by the Arab states. Ever since, there have been conflicts between the Israelis and the Palestinians over the control of the Palestinian territories and also part of Jerusalem, considered as holy by both the Jews as well as the Arabs and also by the Christians.

Politics and government
Israel is a parliamentary democracy, where Prime Minister is the head of the government and the President is the head of the state. The government in Israel is unitary in nature. The parliament, known as the Knesset, has 120 members. The main administrative power is with the Prime Mister and his cabinet colleagues. On the other hand, the President has mostly ceremonial duties.

Economy
Among all the countries in the Middle East, Israel is the most developed one. It has a robust industrial set up and due its focus in science and technology has led to rapid development of the economy. Israel is ranked high on a number of counts. Some of these indexes are Global Competitiveness Report, Ease of Doing Business and Share of High-Skilled Employment. Even though Israel is kind of a desert country, it has managed to achieve self-sufficiency in food production through various innovative and intensive developments in the field of agriculture. Israel is a leading exporter of machinery, military equipment, software, agricultural equipment & produce, cut diamonds, textiles and chemicals. After the United States, the second largest number of startup companies is in Israel. All The big names in the technology field like IBM, Apple, Google, Facebook, Motorola, HP and many others have their research and development labs in the country.

Language
Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages of Israel. Hebrew is the language spoken by the Jewish majority and Arabic by the Arab minority. Since the country has immigrants from a number of countries, notably from Russian and Ethiopia, Russian and Amharic also find wide popularity among the immigrants. Other than them, there is a large French-speaking population. Even though English is not an official language in Israel, it still has wide popularity. Most Israelis can communicate in English. Road signs can be seen in English, television programs are broadcasted in English, official documentation and even elementary education are all found to be in the English language.

Religion
The Holy Land, a major part of which comes under Israel, is considered holy by all the three Abrahamic religions, namely Jews, Muslims and Christians. With almost 75% of the population, the Jews are in majority in Israel. Muslims constitute around 18%, Christians around 2% and the rest belong to the Druze, the Baha'i Faith and others.

Climate
Israel has diverse climatic conditions. The coastal areas, including that of Tel Aviv and Haifa, have a Mediterranean climate with cool and rainy winters, whereas the summers are long and hot. Then there are the desert areas where summers are very hot and dry. Winters in the deserts are mild with hardly any rain. Some of the areas are semi-arid with hot summers and cool winters. On the other hand, the mountains are cold and windy and there is snowfall at elevations above 750 meters during the winter. Water is scarce in the entire region. The country has made tremendous progress in water saving techniques like drip irrigation. With sunlight available in bountiful, the country makes the most of it and is thus the leading nation in the use of solar energy.

Shabbat
Shabbat or Sabbath is the day of rest for the Jewish people. Shabbat is observed beginning a few minutes before sunset on Friday until the appearance of three stars on Saturday night. Since it is a day of rest, on this day no business establishment or shops are kept open. Jews get to enjoy complete freedom from all kinds of activities on this day, getting time to spend with their family and getting into the spiritual aspects of our existence.

Quick Facts

  • Israel is a country with a population of more than 8.8 million people. At 74.5%, Jewish people are in majority. Arabs constitute 20.9% of the population and the rest are non-Arab Christians who have come from different parts of the world.
  • The official languages in Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. English is a widely popular language and is also the language for many of the higher education programs in its universities.
  • The country's capital Jerusalem is also its largest city and has a lot of cultural and historical significance. On the other hand, Tel Aviv is more of a tech-based city and a modern one.
  • In terms of size, Israel is only one-sixth of one percent of the entire Middle East region. However, it still commands respect from its neighbours as well as the rest of the world because of its strong commitment to security, technology development, education and definitely due to its unique culture.
  • It is compulsory for all Israeli citizens to serve in the armed forces for a few years. As such most Israeli students are over the age of 21 years when they go for their higher education studies after their mandatory military service.
  • With growing popularity as a destination for higher studies, more than 10,000 international students study in Israel.
  • Israeli Shekel is the local currency here in Israel. One dollar equals to roughly 3.69 Israeli New Shekel.

Admission Process in Israel

While applying for a study abroad program in one of the universities in Israel, you first need to explore the various sites, where you get complete information about the various universities in Israel and how it is like staying in this Middle East country. Find out the cost of living in Israel, the duration of the courses there and the tuition fees that you need to pay. You may also learn the culture of the people there and the languages that are popularly spoken. Once you are satisfied with all these things it is time for you to search for a suitable program. You need to decide upon the college or the university and the area of study. Meanwhile, you will need the English language proficiency test scores through IELTS or TOEFL.

Once done with selecting the college and the program, you need to get ahead with the application process. Check with the admission requirements and gather the necessary documents as enumerated earlier. Submit the application along with necessary fees and supporting documents. Once done it is time for you to wait for the acceptance letter. Remember, you need to do all these, well before the last date for acceptance of candidature. So you need to be very sure when the academic season or your courses are beginning.

On receipt of the formal letter of acceptance from the university you have applied to, begin with your final step that is the visa application process. The visa application form can be downloaded from this link provided by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Apply for the A/2 student visa by visiting the Israeli consulate office or embassy located in your country. Submit the necessary supporting documents as enumerated earlier along with the visa application form and necessary fees that comes to around 50 US dollars. Once done with the submission, wait for a few weeks and if everything is proper with your application and the supporting documents, you will be soon issued with the student visa. The A/2 student visa will be valid for a period of one year from the date of issue. Multiple entrances and exits could be achieved through this visa. Further extension of the visa can be done, once you are in Israel.

Student Visa Application Process

To study in Israel, you will need an A/2 student visa. The visas are to be applied for at the Israeli embassies or consulate offices located abroad. The visa is issued for a period of one year, with multiple exits and entrances allowed. Since the student visa is valid for one year, you will have to extend it while you are in Israel. The visa doesn't allow you to work in Israel. Those who are married can apply for a visa for their spouses as well as children.

Part time work in Israel
Part-time working is only allowed to students who have enrolled for masters or PhD programs in any of the Israeli universities. Those engaged in post-doctoral research work in research institutions are also allowed to work on a part-time basis. Rest all other students are not allowed to work during their studies.

Work opportunities – post study
Post studies, on completion of your full academic degree, you are permitted to be employed by the high-tech industries if your degree is in one of the following fields of engineering. The engineering disciplines are electrical, electronics, computers, software, information systems and computer science. For availing of this employment opportunity, the high-tech firm will have to submit the necessary application to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The permit is valid for one complete year from the date you are entitled to the degree qualification.

Lifestyle

The lifestyle of the people in Israel is a diverse one. Israel is a country rich in culture and heritage. People like to explore its various religious and historical sites. Jerusalem is the perfect place for the culturally and the historically minded. It is one place visited by thousands of pilgrims all through the year.

Tel Aviv, on the other hand, represents modern Israel. It has many nightclubs and exotic places to provide you with the perfect entertainment. It is also the place where you will find most of the tech crowd, Israel being a modern economy, the standard of living is the highest in the Middle East. the people here have all the modern comforts and amenities.

Outdoor activities include camping and hiking. For those seeking adventure, there are numerous outdoor spots to explore in the desert and among the mountains. Among sports, soccer and basketball is the most favourite pastime for the Israelis.

Cost of Living for Students

The educational programs here in Israel are at a fraction of a cost to that in the United States or the UK. A typical bachelor's degree program in Israel costs around 11,000-15,000 US dollar a year. Postgraduate programs cost around 10,000-30,000 US dollar per year depending upon the course and the college. Research programs will cost you less and for some of the PhD programs, the tuition fees are generally waived off by the host institution.

For funding your study programs you can apply for a scholarship from a range of scholarship programs made available by the Israeli government, universities and other educational organizations. The scholarships are mainly for covering your one year of research studies along with insurance cover and monthly allowances. Many of the scholarships are based on your past academic performances and will be on a certain specific area of study.

Living costs are fairly comparable to that in the western countries. Students mostly stay in the college campuses in Israel. Accommodation is mostly in the form of dormitories. Others stay outside the campus in studio apartments and one room flats. College dormitories cost monthly around 400 US dollar in Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa to 800 US dollar in Tel Aviv University.

Documents for University Admissions in Israel

For taking up admission at a university or institution in Israel you will require some or all of the documents mentioned here.
  1. Your academic transcripts and certificates from your past qualifications.
  2. Statement of purpose, mentioning why you want to study in Israel and reasons for selecting the particular program.
  3. Proof of proficiency in the English language. For this you may submit TOEFL or IELTS test scores.
  4. GRE or GMAT test scores depending upon whether you are opting for graduation school or a management program.
  5. Curriculum vitae.
  6. Recommendation letters from school or college heads.
  7. Medical Certificate.


On receipt of acceptance letter from your chosen university, you will need to submit the visa application form along with the following supporting documents.
  1. Filled and signed visa application form along with the necessary fees.
  2. Two passport size photographs.
  3. The formal letter of acceptance received from the concerned institute in Israel.
  4. Evidence showing ability to finance your studies as well as living expenses during your stay in Israel. This can be in the form of bank statements and other financial documents.
  5. A valid passport with a validity of at least a year for students hailing from countries having a diplomatic mission in Israel. For others with no diplomatic mission, the passport should be valid for the entire duration of the stay as well as an additional period of six months.
  6. Receipt of fees paid
  7. A statement or proof to show your intention to leave Israel, at the end of the program.

A few other documents may be desired during the visa application process, like the original birth certificate and a signed consent letter from parents in case you are a minor.

Universities in Israel


Despite being a very small country, Israel has a number of institutions of higher learning that rank very high in the world. As per QS World University Rankings 2018, four of its top universities rank amongst the top 500 universities in the world. There are a few others, which figure in the QS rankings. As per Shanghai Jiao Tong University Ranking 2017, four of the universities in Israel figure in the top 150 universities globally. The country has nine public universities and many more private colleges. A significant part of the funding for the public universities is taken care by the government and the rest through tuition and other fees. The private colleges do not receive any such funding from the state and thus studying in them cost higher than the public universities. There are some international universities in Israel that are run mainly by the British and North American universities. The universities in Israel, including the international ones, offer a range of courses from undergraduate to postgraduate studies.

Eight of Israel's top ranked universities are as follows.
  1. Tel-Aviv University
  2. University of Jerusalem
  3. Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
  4. Bar Ilan University
  5. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  6. University of Haifa
  7. Weizmann University of Science
  8. Birzeit University


The other notable university is the Open University of Israel, which has more students in its roll than any other university in the country. Students from worldwide enroll for its numerous undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Higher education is looked upon with great respect in Israel. For the Israelis, it is the gateway towards upward mobility. This belief is what that has made this country one of the most educated nations in the world. Israeli universities are especially good in the science and engineering subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry, life science, computer science and engineering. Some of the universities are ranked very highly for offering subjects on social science, business administration, management and economics.

Israeli universities work five days a week from Sunday to Thursday. Friday is the day of rest, as Shabbat is observed on this day. The academic year usually begins in September or October. Some of the courses, however, run from January or February. The bachelor's programs typically last 3-4 years depending upon the course and the masters are of two years duration.

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