Those that spend their gap years in Tel Aviv are sure to come away with a good idea of what it is like to live as a local. However, to save you some hassle, there are a few tips that every Tel Avivian grows up knowing.
For a start, it is probably best to avoid markets on Fridays. While the Carmel Market is one of the best places to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, on a Friday before Shabbat it is insanely busy. If you value personal space and don’t want people stepping on your toes it is best to try and do your shopping on another day, even Thursday evening is a considerably more pleasant experience.
A great feature of Tel Aviv is that there is free Wi-Fi pretty much everywhere in the city. Most cafes and restaurants offer Wi-Fi to their customers but so do a number of streets and beaches. This means that you can work and browse the web extremely easily and from pretty much everywhere in the city.
Something that can take a little bit of adjusting to is the concept of time in Israel. If someone makes an arrangement to meet you at 4pm there is a real chance they’ll turn up at 4:45pm and not consider themselves late. This isn’t considered rude and they will get there in the end, however, in Tel Aviv people like to take their time doing things. There are of course advantages to this, you don’t need to rush too much in the humid weather and there’s no need to panic if you’re running a few minutes late.
Something that does take getting used to is thinking of Friday as the weekend. As a result it is best to try and get everything done by the end of the Thursday and then treat Friday as a proper weekend day. Sunday is a work day and at first this can feel very strange to those of us used to spending Sunday relaxing.
One of the great things about living in Tel Aviv is the free jazz performances on the corner of Ben Gurion Boulevard and Dizengoff Street. This is a program supported by the Tel Aviv municipality and every other Friday from March to July and September to October both Israeli and foreign jazz musicians are invited to perform. It is definitely worth checking out.
In terms of the local lingo get used to hearing ‘Slicha’ and ‘Sababa’. Slicha means ‘excuse me’ or ‘sorry’ and you will hear it a lot on the streets of Tel Aviv. It can be used to get someone’s attention or when you want someone to move and in the busy streets of Tel Aviv this happens a lot. Sababa means ‘great’ or ‘cool’ and it features in a lot of conversations. If you agree with someone just say ‘Sababa’. In short these two words are pretty much enough to get buy.
During your year in Tel Aviv you will discover many more things about the fantastic city and are sure to come away feeling as knowledgeable as those who grew up in the city.