With a burgeoning tech sector and a fast-growing economy, Israel is one of the top places for international students looking for higher education. Historically, the country has always placed value on education. Therefore, you’ll find the literacy rate of the country to be quite high compared to other countries in the region.
If you’re a student with an entrepreneurial spirit, Israel should be on the top of your list for higher education as it’s one of the most innovative countries in the world. Israel has favorable policies for people looking to start their businesses and is even called the Start-Up Nation.
The country has some of the best universities and technical institutes in the world. Four Israeli universities are on the list of the top 50 undergraduate universities worldwide that offer undergraduate programs that produce the most entrepreneurs. The country excels in the fields of science and technology. The companies operating in the country are known to hire out-of-the-box thinkers and exceptional talent.
Apart from quality high-education institutions and universities, Israel boasts some of the most breathtaking landscapes, quality of life, and rich culture. If you want to get a quality education and enjoy your free time exploring beautiful places, then Israel is the place to be. Here’s a complete guide for international students looking to study in Israel.
Overview Of the Education System
The Council for Higher Education is the body responsible for all education-related matters in Israel. It’s also responsible for awarding degrees and accreditations. Several universities in Israel promote research and academics. Among the most famous are the University of Haifa, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Weizmann Institute of Science, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The three basic degrees which are recognized widely in Israel are the bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs. Only research universities offer PhD programs while the other two programs are offered in all universities. A standard bachelor’s degree can take 3-4 years to complete, depending on the field of study. A master’s degree can take two years to complete. PhDs are much more extensive as they can require an average of 5 years to complete, depending on the requirement of the research institution.
Furthermore, Israel encourages international collaborations with leading institutes in the world.
Student Visas & Permits for International Students
You’ll need a valid student visa to enter Israel and study in your desired institution. You can submit your visa application to the Israeli embassy in your country. Once granted, you can enter and exit the country multiple times. You’ll need the following documents and proof to be granted a student visa.
- Signed and completed visa application form along with two passport-sized pictures.
- A formal letter of acceptance by a recognized higher education institute in Israel.
- Proof of financial funds that are necessary to support an individual during their stay in the country.
- A document that is valid for the duration of the course and another six months beyond that.
- Proof of initial fee paid to the institute.
Housing, Living and Tuition Costs
You’ll need to budget accordingly when thinking about moving to another country for higher education. Apart from the tuition fee, pay particular attention to living, food, and transportation costs. The good thing about studying in Israel is that the country offers subsidized housing for international students, and you can enjoy discounts while traveling and sightseeing in popular places.
The local currency of Israel is the New Israeli Shekel. An average meal in the country can cost up to the equivalent of $16 and coffee will set you back another $3.50. However, you can always find cheap places to eat as you’ll find street vendors selling inexpensive, yet delicious, food. Depending on how far your accommodation is from the university, monthly transportation will take another $60 from your pocket.
If you like having a bit of a drink after a hectic day at the institute, a pint of beer will cost $8.50, and a cinema ticket can cost $10. Monthly rent averages from $600-$800 depending on which city and location within that city.
It may be hard to find student accommodation because of the immense demand for it, which is why you may have to look for private accommodation. It’s common for a group of students to share apartments and divide the cost of living. As an undergraduate student, you cannot work in the university or on a part-time basis. This privilege is only for students doing a master’s degree or engaged in a Ph.D.
Now let’s get into the main concern for most students, the tuition. Israeli higher education system is quite competitive. Compared to tuition costs in the United States, tuition in Israel can seem like a bargain. Scholarships are offered to students with impressive academic backgrounds.
The Application Process
There is no centralized application system to apply for Israeli universities, so you’ll need to check out the individual requirements of the program and institute in which you are interested. The first step is to choose the program you want to study and the level of the program (bachelors, masters, PhD). Then narrow down the institutes offering the desired programs at your chosen level.
After you have selected the institution the next thing you will need to do is look the admission requirements up on the university’s website. You may be asked for the following documents:
- Academic transcripts from previous studies
- Proof of English proficiency
- CV or resume
- Recommendation letters
- Statement of purpose
Requirements vary for different institutions but generally, the documents listed above are commonly required for admission. Once you’ve submitted all your documentation to the university, all you need to do is wait for the admission results. If you’re successful in getting a position, the university will send you a formal letter of acceptance that will confirm all the course details and the start date. You’ll need this letter to apply for your student visa.
Language & Culture
Israel has a diverse range of customs and traditions, and you may be in for a bit of culture shock once you land in the country for higher studies. Therefore, it is important to do your research and understand the dos and don’ts of the local culture. You can look forward to a memorable experience as the country offers a vibrant cultural scene and some of the tastiest foods!
The preferred cities of international students in the country are Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa. People usually hang out at cafes and restaurants and experience the vibrant culture the country has to offer. You’ll find a lot of religious and cultural events happening across the country. Even though it’s quite a young country, the country has consistently been on the list of top preferred destinations for education by international students.
A huge part of any culture is its food. You can try some of the best-tasting hummus in the Middle East and enjoy the vegetable-centric meals that are cooked and seasoned expertly. Israelis are health-conscious people so you can expect salads to be a mainstay of the local cuisine. You can visit the local markets to get a taste of local food on the cheap and visit high-end restaurants to immerse yourself in what the country has to offer!
From a traveling perspective, you can float on the Dead Sea and visit the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, and the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Tel-Aviv has the country’s best beaches, with Gordon Beach, Frishman Beach, and Banana Beach being the main attraction for beach lovers.
Hebrew is the national language of the country. Keep in mind that the locals are straightforward. Arabic is also spoken in some areas, and you’ll find a lot of courses in universities being offered in English. You won’t have a problem communicating with your fellow students and professors, as English is a required course through high school for all Israelis.
So, if you’re considering moving to Israel to pursue higher education then we recommend learning a bit of Hebrew. It will only make your time in Israel more memorable and enjoyable.
If you don’t know where to start learning Hebrew, then don’t worry, Ulpan-Or can help you. We are a modern Hebrew institution providing quality linguistic services where you learn Hebrew online with Israeli teachers.
We have Hebrew digital courses that are tailor-made for every individual. Our Rapid Language Acquisition method will help you in picking up Hebrew quickly.
Our intensive Hebrew learning courses are a combination of video dialogues, audio lessons, and vocabulary-building exercises. We ensure that learning the language is not a hassle making your journey as smooth as possible. We also offer programs for prospective immigrants where they can learn Hebrew for seamless immersion into the Israeli culture. Contact us today for more information.