Eight Top American Universities to Launch Study Abroad Programs in Israel

September 16, 2010 / 8 Tishrei 5771

New initiative of Masa Israel Journey, a joint project of the Jewish Agency and the government of Israel, offers seed grants for American universities to partner with Israeli institutions

Eight of America’s top universities will launch study abroad programs in Israel in 2011 and 2012 as part of a new initiative to encourage study abroad and academic exchange with Israel. In an effort to increase the number of overseas students who choose to experience Israel, Masa Israel Journey is working to help turn Israeli universities and colleges into hubs of global higher education. Working with the Institute of International Education (IIE), Masa has selected eight institutions which will receive a total of $400,000 ($50,000 each) in seed grants to develop study programs with Israeli institutions of higher education.

The partnerships include Washington University's Olin Business School with IDC Herzliya; Columbia's Barnard College with Hebrew University; and the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business with the University of Haifa. The other participating universities are Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University, Michigan State University, the New Jersey state-university system and the University of Florida. (See program details below.) These programs follow in the recent footsteps of Harvard University’s new “Spring in Jerusalem” program at Hebrew University and the University of Miami’s UGalilee, which received a combined total of $85,000 in seed-grants from Masa Israel.

Masa’s effort to develop partnerships between universities in North America and institutions of higher learning in Israel is facilitated by local federations, in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Currently, Israel ranks 22nd out of the top 25 study abroad destinations for students from the United States, according a 2009 report by the Institute of International Education. “Israel's world-class universities make it a natural place to expand capacity and diversity of American students’ experiences abroad," said IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman.

Today some 2,300 American students study in Israel each year, a relatively low number due to the lack of direct partnerships between American and Israeli institutions of higher education at the undergraduate level. While Israel enjoys high caliber universities and colleges that turn out an unusually high number of innovators, the country's higher education system lags behind many other countries in creating these overseas partnerships. In recent years, higher education has seen a trend toward "global universities," networks of institutions and branches providing opportunities for study worldwide.

“We hope to propel Israel into the top 15 study abroad destinations over the next few years by encouraging more universities to open programs in Israel that speak to the most compelling interests of their students and faculty,” says Masa Israel North American Director, Avi Rubel.

These new programs target a student body with broad interests. In addition to the courses available at Israeli institutions, including those in Jewish and Middle Eastern Studies, they now offer courses and internships in a wide range of fields, including business, environmental studies, engineering, psychology, and the arts. The new study abroad programs allow students to meet prerequisites and receive full credit for their studies in Israel.

MASA was established as a joint project by the Jewish Agency and the Prime Minister’s office under Ariel Sharon in 2004 to enable thousands of Jewish young adults to spend a semester to a year in Israel on over 160 approved programs. Since its inception, Masa has made it possible for 45,000 people to live, work, study and volunteer in Israel, doubling the number of young adults on programs annually from under 5,000 to 10,000 a year today, with the goal of reaching 15,000 participants annually.

Details of the new programs:

Arizona State University’s partnership with Ben Gurion University of the Negev:
Named Sustainable Development and Environmental Justice in Israel, this program will leverage each institution’s highly regarded experience in environmental manipulation and the use of limited natural resources.

Barnard College of Columbia University’s partnership with Hebrew University:
Barnard alumni living in Israel will serve as mentors to Barnard students and provide them with internship placements in their Israel-based companies.

Case Western Reserve University’s partnership with the Hebrew University:
This multidisciplinary program targets students with diverse backgrounds, offering courses in health and medicine, brain science and human development, and the natural sciences.

Michigan State University’s partnership with Hebrew University:
Students may take courses in political science, public affairs, journalism, and international business, and participate in related internships.

New Jersey State College System’s partnership with Ben Gurion University:
Students will take part in in-depth research, analyzing David Ben Gurion’s personal documents alongside graduate students.

University of Florida’s partnership with the University of Haifa:
A Hebrew and Arabic immersion program, this program allows students to enroll in Peace & Conflict Studies courses.

Smith School of Business of the University of Maryland’s partnership with the University of Haifa:
This program offers courses including Business in Israel and Hi-Tech Marketing, as well as internship opportunities at Israeli companies, such as the MATAM High-Tech Park in Haifa.

Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis’ partnership with IDC Herzliya:
Students studying business administration participate in internships and conduct original research.

For further information contact:
Michael Jankelowitz,
Liaison to the Foreign Press, Jewish Agency for Israel
Mobile: +972-52-6130220;
Voice-mail: +972-2-620-2780
website: www.jewishagency.org



Share              PRINT   
17 Sep 2010 / 9 Tishrei 5771 0