Due to the language difference, many Olim decide to wait until after college to make Aliyah. But did you know there are plenty of higher education options in English in Israel? With several international English-speaking programs, English Literature and English Linguistics offered at most major Israeli universities, there are numerous options for college in English for Olim. If you want to speed up your integration and opt for college in Hebrew, in order to accommodate Olim and help them peruse higher education in Israel, there are several major universities that offer Mechina programs – a one-year preparatory course designed to help students attain the levels required for regular study in Israeli Universities and proficiency in Hebrew.

If you are considering college in Israel, here are a few things we think you should know:

College in America and Israel have many similarities, but they also have several key differences (in addition to the language). College in America and Israel both offer opportunities for on-campus living or commuting to school, but from there they tend to diverge.

In United States, it is most common to get a Liberal Arts degree with a specific major. In Israel, the degree is more specialized – yes, in Israel there are general course requirements, but they can be in anything outside of your specialty’s credits. Unlike American universities, there is no requirement for math, language, etc. unless those subjects are specifically required by your major.

The cost of university in Israel is also vastly cheaper. Israel is home to several renowned public colleges and universities whose tuition costs are regulated by the government at around $3,000 per year. Costs vary in the United States, but generally are nowhere near the low price of college in Israel. International English-language programs in Israel tend to be more expensive as they are private, and the cost begins at $6,000 per year. You can, however, study for certain degrees in English in regular public university programs such as English Literature and Linguistics. When you make Aliyah, your tuition is almost fully covered by the Student Authority unless you are in a more expensive private English-speaking program, and then they will pay the cost equivalent of public education and you need to cover the rest. Imagine graduating from college debt-free! You can learn more about it here.

In addition, most BA programs in Israel require only three years of study (as opposed to four years in the United States). There are some specific degrees that do require a fourth year, but it is most common to need only three. Rather than majoring in a subject in America, in Israel you train in this one specific area. This means that you can work in your field of choice immediately after three to four years of studying, in contrast to the American model which tends to require four years of undergrad followed by a master’s degree. This applies to careers such as occupational therapy, social work, and law.

If you are interested in college in Israel but are concerned about finding your place socially, there is no need to worry – English-speaking communities have popped up around university campuses including Givat Shmuel, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Be’er Sheva. If you are interested in hearing more about higher education opportunities in Israel, please reach out to nbnstudents@nbn.org.il.