gap year in israel

Frequently Asked Questions

Please email your questions to the staff of Aardvark at [email protected] and we will promptly provide you with answers!
We’ll tell you when you arrive! See you then!
All Jewish students, ages 17-21, are encouraged to apply. Our goal is to bring as many young people to Israel as possible to give them a positive Jewish and Zionist experience.

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 internship or volunteer placement, classes and explore the city. Private busses will be provided by the program for all group activities outside of the city, such as hiking trips, field trips, and seminars. An extensive network of inter-city busses and trains makes travel between cities easy as well. While you are responsible for your own travel during your free time, the staff is always available to help you plan their free weekends or chofesh (vacations).

We accept bank wire transfers and online payments (credit card, e-check, and PayPal.) The application fee must be submitted at the time of registration. Tuition payments are made according to the payment schedule for the program you’ve registered for (see Tuition page.)

Yes, you are welcome to pay in installments provided your tuition is paid in full by the appropriate deadlines. Please see the scholarship page of our website for information regarding additional sources of funding. Those in need of assistance should also be in touch with our staff at [email protected].

Students will be living in furnished apartments, including kitchen equipment and utensils. Since every persons’ eating habits are different, in our experience working with student groups, we have found it is most cost effective and therefore beneficial to everyone for each student to be responsible for his/her own needs with regards to food. It is for this reason, the cost of meals has been deducted from the price of tuition and each participant is responsible for their own food costs. However, each apartment group will be encouraged to pool some of their resources so as to most efficiently manage their funds. The counselors and staff of the program will work with each group to help them learn to budget, shop, and cook for themselves.
Yes! Students highly recommend bringing a laptop. It is also recommended to insure your laptop for the duration of the year.
All readings are provided to the students and there is no book fee. Notebooks and school supplies are not included and may either be brought from home or bought in Israel.
Even though all of the apartments are furnished, personal bedding and towels are the student’s responsibility. You are welcome to bring these items from home or purchase them in Israel. To save room in your luggage, you may choose to purchase these items by choosing the “Linens and Towels Package” in your program registration, or, you may send a package from home in advance of your arrival.

All Program participants are required to purchase an Israeli SIM card and phone service through an exclusive arrangement we have set up with the Israeli company ‘Partner.’ Through this phone service, Partner also provides our staff with features that help to ensure the security of the participants including a group SMS system. Students must bring with them an unlocked cell phone into which they will insert their Israeli SIM card. The SIM cards will be distributed to the students upon arrival. The fee for the phone service is paid directly to Aardvark Israel and sign up forms are included in the students’ applications online.

The staff in Israel working with the students is also available to parents to answer any questions or concerns which may arise via email or telephone. Weekly e-newsletters will also be sent from Israel updating you on the activities and events going on within the program. We are reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in case of emergencies.
Most weekends are free yet many optional activities are available for those who wish to participate during their free weekends. In addition, hiking and camping equipment is available to those who wish to take advantage of their weekends to explore Israel on foot. Many evenings are also free. There are optional programs offered throughout the week during the evenings for those who are interested. There are also two vacation periods during the year – Winter Break and Pesach (Spring) Break.
Parents are encouraged to visit Israel during Winter Break or Pesach (Spring) Break. Parents are also welcome to come at other times during the year but must understand that the students have class and internship or volunteering responsibilities so missing activities should be kept at a minimum. In addition, when parents visit we encourage them to participate in some program activities so they can get a feel for the daily life of our participants.
Your child may only travel on his/her free time into the West Bank with the permission of the program director, who will make a determination based on the advice of our security advisers and their current recommendations. There will be some group trips to specific sites within the West Bank, during which participants will be escorted by security personnel.
The use of illegal drugs or the abuse of legal drugs and alcohol is not tolerated on the program. Drinking in Israel is legal from the age of 18 and thus participants are allowed to drink as long as they do so responsibly. Drinking is a privilege and not a right and may be revoked if it is determined by the staff to be in the best interest of the participant and/or the program.
Round trip airfare to/from Israel is not included in the program tuition. You are welcome to fly on the airline of your choice or purchase a ticket using frequent flier miles. Please be sure to book a flight that lands in Israel between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm on the date your program begins.  If you can not find an appropriate flight during these times, please consult with our staff before booking.
The amount of spending money you will use will depend on your personal spending habits, but you should expect to need approximately $180-220/per month for groceries plus $150-200/per month for additional spending money to cover the cost of entertainment and attractions in your free time.