Oznia, a blog of Israel things


~Gap Year in Israel by aklionsky

As December 31st approaches and the first of my college applications is officially due, I’m beginning to browse through another set of applications and supplements: the ones for Israel gap-year programs.

I’ve been told over and over again that “You’re never as free asĀ  you are before college. During college there are classes, then there’s internships and jobs, and then maybe grad school, and then jobs, and a family, and kids… and it becomes harder and harder to pick up and travel.”

So I’m going to Israel next year. I haven’t decided yet which program/s to apply for. There are a lot of great ones out there, some affiliated with each movement of Judaism, others pluralistic, some specifically designed with social justice in mind, others for nature lovers, some for studying, others for volunteering, some for musicians, others for dancers, some for five months, some for ten, some for just Americans, some for people from all over the world.

The internet is probably the most fantastic resource for finding a program that’s good for you, and the Masa organization offers scholarships for many of the programs it advertises.

I want a program that allows me to live like Israelis: speaking Hebrew, making friends, meeting kids, going to museums. But I also want to learn. I want to travel. I want to gain a firsthand experience of what it would be like to be seventeen-going-on-eighteen year old living in Israel.

Check it out some programs, but do it soon. Bring up the idea with your parents (you can even play the maturity card: You’ll be living on your own thousands of miles away for a while year, making decisions and friends… it will give you a step ahead of your classmates freshman year of college, when they’re just starting to hold those responsibilities).

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