Asher from Newton, MA didn't want to take a gap year in Israel. His parents thought he she take one and his sister kept sharing her experiences from the pre-college program she took in Israel, but Asher knew what he want to do: "After high-school, I need to start developing my career". Only after his Aunt sent him a link to BIG IDEA gap year program in Israel He started seeing things in a different way - Maybe there is a way to combine gap year experience in Israel with opportunities to develop your career in high-tech?
I really love this country. I stayed here 3 months in Junior class with my school and had a blast. What is great about BIG Idea Gap Year is that I am able to be here in the land, but also work on my educational interests and passions.
Talk us through a typical day on the program?
Each day we wake up and prepare our own food. We eat breakfast together and prepare our lunch. We then take a bus to the hi-tech park, where we have our class. We are then in class for usually 6 or 7 hours. We have a lunch break where we eat our food. After this, we have a group activity or have our afternoon free. Recently we had sushi night, which was really great, we spent time with the Shnat Sherut in Beer Sheva, which is a group of Israelis our age who choose to volunteer before they do their service in the army.
On the nights we have free time we sometimes go out to the big mall here in Beer Sheva, we go out to eat there are a bunch of good restaurants. People go on runs, go to the gym, I rock climb. We hang out in the apartment - it is just a really good time.
Who have you got to meet on the program?
I have got to meet a bunch of Israeli families and kids my age, and that has been really great because I have been able to really see what they think about their experience and lifestyle here and what is different to back home in the U.S. It is just to fun to hang out with them and talk to them and get their opinion on things.
Talk us through the people you have met on the BIG IDEA program?
There are great people here on the program. I have met people from South Africa and all over the U.S. I didn’t know anyone before I came here and it has been so fun to meet kids my age who are passionate about the same things. We get to learn so much yet also to have fun and explore Beer Sheva and have a good time.
Can you please tell us a bit about the program itself?
We are taking courses in a variety of programming languages here in the hi-tech center in Beersheba, so by the end of these first few months we have the skills required to design our own websites and our own apps for ios and android. From there we gonna take these skills and move into internships and startups here in Israel and get to apply our new found knowledge to the actual field.
What were your goals before you came here?
My main goal when I came here was to work on myself and become independent. I didn’t know how to cook before I came here, and we have to make all our food. It’s been really great to learn and push myself to learn new things, to try and eat well and not just eat at restaurants all the time.
It’s the first time I am living away from home on my own, and I am really excited to become more independent learn new things, live on my own without people watching me.
What is your favorite part of the Gap Year so far?
Definitely, the opportunities to travel and our freedom as we have a lot of weekends free so we can go to Jerusalem, Haifa, Tzfat etc. You have some intensity on the program you learn so much, however, there is the perfect structure. You learn a lot but you also get to travel on your own as someone who lives here. We really feel as independent adults and not just as kids on a trip. It’s great to spend time also in Beer Sheva, it is such a great place.
Why do you recommend a Gap Year in Israel specifically?
You should come live here for a year in Israel as it is a great place to discover more about yourself and who you are as well as work on things that you may not learn in school such as living alone and cooking for yourself.
I really found out who I was as a person here.
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