BIG IDEA GAP YEAR MAIN PROGRAM
A gap year in Israel that jump-starts your future career! Acquire new expertise, develop your networking skills and have a unique experience in Israel all this while living in fully furnished apartments in the center of Tel aviv & Jerusalem, earn college credits and meet students from all over the world!
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HI-TECH BOOT CAMPS
Open the door to your future career in either programming or design. Study and gain hands-on experience with like-minded people and get essential skills from industry experts. Learn to enhance your Hi-Tech skills, teamwork and leadership knowledge and stand out from the crowd with a professional certification upon completion of the course. The hi-tech boot camps are during the first 4 months of your gap year in Israel. Choose the course you want to excel in:
Become a developer. You’ll get the coding skills that are required in creating web and mobile apps. Impress friends, family, and future employers by creating your very own mobile application!
- UI/UX techniques
- Android development
- Introduction to server side, databases and more
Course program may change.
Want to know more? Read the full Course Syllabus >>
Connect to Israel’s past and future. BIG IDEA Gap Year is not just about coding and designing. It is also your opportunity to discover Israel in a way you never knew before.
We travel the whole country: mountains to beaches, cities to deserts. We also spend time showcasing Israel’s inspiring hi-tech ecosystem. Once a week, we travel around Israel to visit start-ups and learn from them, to get inspired and make new connections. The companies we visited have ranged from enormous computer manufacturers to tiny social startups by Bedouin entrepreneurs.
A gap year in Israel is a great way to get a deeper look at the society and culture in Israel. We will visit different locations and groups in Israel and get into deep conversations with the people.
We believe that learning takes place outside the classroom as much as inside. Each week, we take you on an excursion allowing you to connect to Israel in a deep and meaningful way. Understanding that most of our students have been to Israel before, we take you off the beaten path to hidden treasures that tourists and even some Israelis never get to experience. These field trips include visits to nature reserves, historical sites, museums, a variety of communities and more. In addition, three times each semester, we take you on overnight trips to explore the different regions of the country, including a unique Kibbutz experience.
Some of our trips include:
- Burma Road Jeep TourHebron and Herodian (King Herod’s Fortress)
- Dialogue in the Dark
- The Temple Mount / Dome of the Rock
- Natal (center to help survivors of terror)
- Graffiti Tour of Tel Aviv
- Zedekiah’s Cave
- Machon Ayalon (underground bullet making factory)
- Begin Museum
- Underground Prisoners Museum
- Ein Mabua Natural Spring
- Kibbutz Ketura Seminar
- Overnight trips to Galil, Golan, Negev, and Judean Desert
- And many more!
Through a partnership with the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Big idea@Aardvark participants can get up to 21 college credits in Jerusalem & up to 15 credits in Tel aviv. A minimum final high school GPA of 2.0 is required for credit eligibility. Those students who successfully complete the course requirements will be able to request to transfer their credit to their desired university following their semester/year in Israel. Students may also choose to audit their courses. Transcripts for courses taken as part of Big idea@Aardvark Israel are issued by the American Jewish University which is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the same agency that accredits UCLA, Stanford, and all other recognized colleges and universities in the Western United States. For more information about the American Jewish University, please visit their website at www.aju.edu.
At the Ulpan classes (Hebrew language learning) you will learn how to speak, read and write in Hebrew. With your new Hebrew skills, you will be able to communicate with Israelis like a local, and get a meaningful advantage when you apply to your internship in Israel.
History of Zionism and Israeli Society
Women in the Zionist Movement
Eternal Jerusalem – The Religions of the Holy Land
Middle East Politics: A Microcosms
Introduction to Business
Introduction to Service Learning
The Art of Reading and Writing
Midrash and Fantasy – Introduction to Midrash
Traditional Judaism meet the Modern World
The Arab Israeli Conflict
Jewish Medical Ethics
Contemporary Israeli Politics
Geography of the Land of Israel
Gender and Judaism
During the gap year program in Israel, you will learn how to live independently, how to live with other people and grow individually as a person. Cook, clean and live together with your roommates, who will soon be like your family.
Living in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, our gap year participants take full advantage of the cultural enrichment, night life, and convenience of the two most popular cities in Israel for today’s young adults.
These cities provide countless options for: diverse, high-quality community service,internship experiences,countless enrichment opportunities,proximity to attractions such as the Old City in Jerusalem and the beach in Tel Aviv.
relevance to program participants as they become integrated into their homes.
From these centers, students also have easy access to the comprehensive public transportation system allowing them to explore Israel in their free time.
Students on our gap year programs will be immersed into Israeli society, living in comfortable apartments in desirable neighborhoods in each city.
In Tel Aviv: students live in the trendy Florentine neighborhood surrounded by young Israelis.
In Jerusalem: students live in downtown Jerusalem, a few minutes from the popular Shuk Machane Yehuda and Ben Yehuda street and just a 15 minute walk from the Old City .
By establishing relationships with your Israeli neighbors and the staff of your volunteer placement, you will become part of the surrounding community and grow to feel “at home” in each city.
You will receive a monthly local bus pass which will allow you to travel around the city in which you are living (Jerusalem or Tel Aviv) using the public bus system. This will enable you to get to and from your volunteer placements, classes and explore the city.
Aardvark students are housed with other program participants in single sex apartments. The number of people in each apartment ranges from four to six depending on the layout of the apartment. All of the apartments are fully furnished and equipped with kitchen appliances and utensils. Every apartment has WiFi. With the guidance of qualified counselors, you will learn to cook, clean, budget, do laundry, and live together with your roommates.
Understanding that this will be the first time many participants are living on their own, staff will work with the students in each apartment to ensure a positive group dynamic and the health and welfare of the participants.
Throughout the year, the counselors hold weekly apartment meetings to facilitate and solve any issues which may arise, and also pay friendly visits to the students’ apartments. As the year progresses, the students will be encouraged to be more independent in their problem-solving in order to foster growth and maturity.
Big idea@Aardvark Israel Programs operate as a part of the Masa program of the Jewish Agency for Israel. We receive security updates on an ongoing basis and adjust security guidelines for the students accordingly (this includes restricting their free time when necessary.) When going out on excursions and hikes we always obtain clearance and guidance from the relevant agencies in Israel. All students are required to have a cellular phone from a company called “Partner” which allows the program staff to utilize technology to locate all students in the event of an emergency. Furthermore, all the phones are united in one text messaging service so we can send immediate guidelines and warnings to students if the situation warrants.
In addition to the experienced senior staff of Aardvark Israel, highly qualified counselors are assigned to each location and work with the participants for the duration of the year. Counselors are all college graduates or have completed the Israeli army and are all fluent in English. We have a good staff ratio to student ratio between 15 students to one counselor and even less making our program one of the most customer-service friendly programs in Israel. While giving students the space to explore and learn to be more independent, the counselors are also a distinct presence in the day to day lives of participants serving as mentors and role models to the students.
Basic medical insurance is provided by the program. Coverage includes doctor’s visits, medications, and emergency care for most new illnesses and incidents which may arise during the program. Pre-existing conditions are excluded, as well as other limitations applying, therefore students are encouraged to maintain their own private health insurance from their country of origin. Specific information detailing the medical insurance policy is made available to participants’ families once registered for the program. Upon arrival to Israel, students will be briefed about how to use the health services and which local English-speaking doctors and pharmacies are recommended.Urgent psychological care is also provided by the program for students in crisis. All psychological treatment is kept strictly confidential between the student and the therapist.
MAKE AN IMPACT
Make a social change and develop digital solutions to influence real people’s lives.
In the final month of the program, right after you finish your hi-tech boot camp, you’ll get to experience the same road to innovation as any other start-up entrepreneurs, while developing apps that will be used by the people in Be’er Sheva. This is your chance to give back to the community, while gaining valuable work experience.
This year, BIG IDEA participants worked with the Carasso Science Park, creating innovative apps to help solve complicated, real-world problems.
“After going through the boot camp, it was very special to see that what we learned, in theory, could come in handy when we were designing actual apps that real people will use”
Jonathan Shitrit, New York, NY
You had an amazing 5 months and you want to do more?
Make it a full year in Israel by adding 4 month extension of Internships in start-ups and leading hitech companies in Israel.
Check out internships in Israel >>