Choose to study in Israel, and you’ll find yourself at the heart of a diverse, dynamic and constantly developing culture.
During its 68 years of existence, Israel has fast developed into an economy one renowned for its high-tech development, innovation and entrepreneurship – gaining the nickname ‘the start-up nation’, with its own version of the US Silicon Valley, the Silicon Wadi.
Israel is especially known for innovation in the high-tech sector, and is reportedly home to more high-tech start-ups than any country other than the US – pretty impressive, considering its relatively small size and population. In recent years, Israel has also been touted as the world’s next major biotech hub.
As you’d expect with all this innovation and development going on, Israel has a strong selection of highly reputed universities – with strengths not just in science and technology subjects, but across the academic spectrum.
Applying to Israeli universities
There is no centralized application system for universities in Israel, so you’ll need to apply directly to your chosen university, providing the required documents and following the instructions stated on the institution’s official website. You may need to take a psychometric entrance test as part of the admissions process, which will test your quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and English language skills.
Israeli student visa regulations
To study in Israel for a period of more than three months, a student visa (A2 visa) is needed. Visa applications should be submitted to the nearest Israeli consulate at least three months ahead of intended arrival in Israel.
To apply for an Israeli student visa, you will need:
· A letter of acceptance from an Israeli university
· A passport valid at least six months beyond your intended visit duration
· Two passport-sized photos
· Proof of sufficient finances to cover the duration of your stay
· Visa processing fee (US$46)
International students also need to have health insurance for the length of their studies. This may be provided by the university, included within the tuition fees, or it may be necessary to purchase insurance privately. It’s also important to note that you’re unable to work in Israel with your student visa.
Tuition fees and living costs
Tuition fees in Israel vary depending on your level of study and university, but generally you will pay around US$9,000-15,000 per year at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Living costs are also relatively affordable, with about US$10,500 needed for each year of study. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv will be the most expensive cities in which to rent accommodation.
Languages in Israel
The official languages in Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. English is also widely spoken, and is a compulsory subject in Israeli schools up to high school. Russian is also widely spoken, and Israeli society in general is fairly multilingual, with significant groups speaking many different languages from across Europe and Asia.
Israeli universities teach primarily in Hebrew, but many also offer a growing selection of English-taught programs. These range from short-term study abroad and exchange programs, to full degrees at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Israel has had its fair share of conflict over the years, but despite its reputation for being war-torn, the country attracted a record 3.54 million tourists in 2013. As of June 2016, there is currently a high threat from terrorism, and safety measures such as routine searches are in place to protect both citizens and visitors. It’s advisable to keep up to date with current events in the area, avoid large gatherings or demonstrations, and carry photo ID at all times.
Reasons to study in Israel
1. The country is renowned for the high standard of its universities with technology and entrepreneurship at the heart of education
2. The country is highly developed. This development is reflected in the high standard of living
3. Students coming here don’t have to speak the official language, Hebrew. English is widely spoken here with several of the universities offering courses in English.
4. It is the melting pot of three of the world’s major religion: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. This has made the country very culturally diverse. Other religions and faiths are allowed to flourish in Israel.
5. Due to the ethnic mix of the country, study abroad students would have the opportunity to learn various languages from Eastern Europe including Russian. Arabic too is widely spoken as there are many Arabs in Israel.
6. Israel is one of the safest countries to study. Because of the constant political crisis with their neighbors, the police and security forces are extremely efficient in the work they perform.
The currency of the country is known as the Israeli shekel, ILS. Presently, about 3.5 ILS exchanges for $1. The symbol of the currency is ₪.
Cost of living in Israel
Study abroad students would discover quickly that they don’t have to be rich to study here. Coupled with the high standard of living, studying in Israel would be a great experience for foreign students especially those coming from less developed countries.
The Israeli embassy or consulate closest to your location would handle all visa applications, including furnishing you with further information if needed.
You would need the following documents to apply for a student visa to study in Israel:
- Original copy of admission letter from the university
- Valid passport
- Passport sized photographs
- Proof you have enough money to find your stay in Israel
- Completed visa application form that can be downloaded here
The visa processing fee is about $50. But it can vary according to which country you reside in.
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