Big idea
Gap Year or semester | 4-9 months

Big Idea Tech Program

A hands-on high tech experience in Israel
  • Get on-the-ground training for a career in high-tech
  • Live your dream year in Israel
  • Make a social impact on Israeli society

Your high-tech career
starts here

Take time to invest in yourself. In this program, you will acquire practical expertise in your chosen field, develop your networking skills, and travel the country with like-minded people from all over the world. Operated as a partnership between BIG IDEA and Aardvark Israel, participants get the best of what each organization has to offer!

Designed for
forward-thinkers

BIG IDEA @ Aardvark Israel is the ideal program for high school graduates looking to develop a strong foundation in technology while also enjoying an immersive, educational experience in Israel.
Participants will enjoy the benefits of a selective group of technology-minded peers while also being a part of the larger, diverse community of students participating in all of Aardvark Israel’s other existing programs.
  • Hi-Tech boot camps – App Development
  • Internships at innovative startup companies
  • Networking with top international professionals
  • Impactful community service using high-tech solutions
  • Hebrew learning and option to earn university credits
  • Weekly field trips throughout the country
  • Local living – explore Israel and its diverse culture

Program Overview

Coding Course: Students are immersed in a hands-on technology course where they will gain all the skills necessary to become a front-end developer, earning an official developer certification and gaining resume-ready skills.
Internships: Students intern alongside Israelis at leading startups in Tel Aviv.
Impact: One of the highlights of the program is a hackathon following the coding course during which participants design an app for a charitable organization in Israel. This is an unforgettable opportunity for students to use their new skills to make a difference for a community in need.
Enrichment:
  • Weekly field trips around Israel
  • Option to earn university credits in Hebrew and other electives
  • Extracurricular activities and more!

Daily Life on Big Idea

Living in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, participants will be able to take full advantage of the cultural enrichment, night life, and convenience of the most popular cities in Israel for today’s young adults. Participants will be immersed into Israeli society, meeting their Israeli neighbors, shopping for groceries in the local shops, and navigating on public transportation, giving them the chance to truly “live like a local.”
  • Jerusalem students live downtown next to Machane Yehuda, the famous outdoor market
  • Tel Aviv students live in the trendy Florentine neighborhood surrounded by young Israelis

Our modern, comfortable apartments are shared only by participants in the program. All the apartments are fully furnished and equipped with kitchen appliances and utensils, and of course WiFi. With the guidance of a qualified counselor, participants will learn to cook, clean, budget, do laundry, and live together with roommates. Understanding that this will be the first time most of the students are living on their own, staff will work with the participants in each apartment to ensure a positive group dynamic and the health and welfare of the participants. Throughout the program, the counselors hold weekly apartment meetings to facilitate and solve any issues which may arise. They will also pay friendly, regular visits to the apartments. As the year progresses, the participants will be encouraged to be more independent in their problem-solving in order to foster growth and maturity.
Once a week, students will be taken on a tech tour to learn about the Start-Up Nation from those who have built it and operate in it. You will visit large, mutli – national corporations and small start-ups in tech incubators and meet the movers and shakers of the hi-tech world. These tours will give you backstage access to some of the most successful companies and will allow you to network with Israel’s greatest entrepreneurs.
Take the skills and knowledge you gained during your gap year and dive head-first into the Israeli high-tech ecosystem. During the Spring Semester in Tel Aviv, students will be interning in a variety of companies, gaining hands-on experience.
  • Boost your resume with your work experience in the Start-Up Nation
  • Use your newly-gained tech skills in a real and challenging environment
  • Network with Israeli hi-tech developers and incredible entrepreneurs
  • Experience working in an office environment in Israel
You will be surrounded by opportunities to learn throughout your time in Israel. The educational component of the program is woven into exciting field trips, dynamic guest speakers, and stimulating activities. In addition, students will participate in a Hebrew Ulpan. Whether you are a beginner or quite advanced, you will expand your vocabulary and become more comfortable in a Hebrew-speaking environment. Students may also enroll in other academic courses covering a range of Jewish and Zionist topics. Extracurricular activities and workshops are also available to students, such as yoga, spoken Arabic, and Jewish art.

College credit is also available for successful completion of academic courses through our partnership with the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.

The following are examples of the academic courses typically offered on Aardvark Israel. Please note, minimum enrollment is required for a class to open and class offerings vary between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

  • Hebrew
  • 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 Service Learning
  • The Art of Reading and Writing
  • Midrash and Fantasy – Introduction to Midrash
  • The Arab Israeli Conflict
  • Jewish Medical Ethics
  • Contemporary Israeli Politics
  • Modern Israel Geography of the Land of Israel
  • Gender and Judaism
Every Tuesday, students participate in educational field trips – exploring off the beaten path sites around Israel. From nature reserves, to historical sites, from museums, to fascinating communities, each week holds something new. Examples of trips include: Hevron, Graffiti Tour of Tel Aviv, Herodian (King Herod’s Fortress), Ein Mabua Natural Spring, the Temple Mount, Gaza Border Communities, overnight trips to Galil, Golan, Negev, and the Judean Desert, and many more!
Through evening activities, participants will have both social and educational opportunities to further enhance their experience. Options will include sports, social and cultural events, guest speakers, and leadership development activities. With an evening lesson of krav maga, a Moroccan Jewish cooking workshop, poyke on the beach, rock climbing, thINK (“I Never Knew” activity with our Jewish Life Coordinator), and more, students will explore the many faces of Israel and its society.

Students will also be able to take full advantage of their free time to visit friends and family, enjoy the local nightlife, travel around Israel, or enjoy relaxing time in their apartment with their roommates.

Your Coding Bootcamp

Become a front-end & mobile apps developer
Gain the coding skills needed to develop web and mobile apps. Showcase your new talents by creating your very own mobile application by the end of the course!
  • HTML5, Javascript, and CSS
  • AngularJS
  • UI/UX techniques
  • Android development
  • Introduction to server side, databases, and more

Impact

A hackathon for social change
Upon completion of the tech course, you and your fellow students will make a social change by developing digital solutions that influence people’s lives. You’ll get to experience the same road to innovation as any other start-up entrepreneurs while developing apps that will be used by a deserving charitable organization. This is your chance to give back to the community while gaining valuable work experience.
Over the years, BIG IDEA participants created apps within the Carasso Science Park, developed solutions for asylum seekers in Be’er Sheva, solved tech problems for a collaborative work space, and more.

Locations - Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

Israel’s ever-growing metropolis, Tel Aviv, is beautifully set on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and known by the locals as the city that never sleeps. An anomaly in the Middle East, Tel Aviv is a cosmopolitan, open-minded, vibrant city that is also filled with rich history and diverse traditions from all over the world. As the center of the “Start-Up Nation,” the city boasts much more than its popular beaches. With an exciting nightlife and expansive cultural attractions, students will love living in this modern and diverse city.
The geographic and spiritual center of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years, Jerusalem today is an advanced, dynamic city. Truly one of a kind, the city weaves together past and present, history and culture, excitement and spirituality. At the center of the city, the Machane Yehuda Market brings together the city’s diverse population and intertwines food, shopping, bars and restaurants. With a vibrant nightlife and transformational atmosphere on Shabbat, living in this unique and exciting city will be a wonderful experience for students.

Big Idea @ Aardvark Israel

is operated in partnership with BIG IDEA Educational Projects Ltd. a Tel Aviv based company which has been creating meaningful experiences in Israel for young adults and teens since 2008. They strive to be the leading organization in Israel and in the Jewish communities around the world in informal education in the fields of innovation, creativity, technology, and science. Every year, thousands of participants get together to create, invent and design at various BIG IDEA programs.

International Add-Ons

Gain a deep understanding of diverse cultures and the global Jewish community through focused international trips throughout the year.

Additional Program Details: