Shalom Parents, Students, Partners, and Staff,
The semester has officially started and is now in session! In our biggest year ever, with six communities, nearly 340 students came to Israel from all over the world – Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, France, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela – and have started their life-changing experience. Scroll down to see what their first weeks looked like
Our Tech Track students started the semester with a Hackathon, where they worked on group projects, such as finding the perfect college for them after their gap year.
Over the course of one month, our students designed and used the programming skills they acquired in the first semester, and created, from scratch, their own website! Now they are about to start their internships, getting hands-on experience, and giving them that extra leverage before going to college.
Moving on to two more very special add-ons: Entrepreneurship and Selah (our Jewish Enrichment Track). Entrepreneurship Track students tour start-up companies on a weekly basis, learn about their successes and struggles, and what it is like owning and running a start-up company. They met the Head of Product Design at Candivore, who told them all about how the company started, what stage it is now and what they are facing in the year 2023 and onwards.
Selah, lead by our Jewish Life Coordinator, Rabbi Liad, meets on Sundays and Thursdays, where they discuss topics from the Torah, and how they are relevant today. Recently, they went to Anu Museum – The Museum of the Jewish People on the campus of Tel Aviv University. During and after the visit, they discussed their Jewish Identity as individuals and as a nation.
Every Tuesday, students are invited to join Tuesday Torah with Rabbi Liad, where they discuss the weekly Parasha, and eat pizza! Sounds like a perfect combination to us
Did we mention we have the best students in the whole world? Here are two of January’s students of the week!
“My name is Dalia, I am Dutch and American, as I was born in New York City where I lived until I was four. When my family moved back to Amsterdam I went to school there, most recently at Maimonides high school. I heard of Aardvark Israel from some close friends who went to previous semesters. They really enjoyed it and I cannot agree more! During your Gap Year, you will make friends for life and it is the best feeling ever. For my internship, I will work with a jewelry designer, Noam Nadiv, and I am really looking forward to working with her.
Fun fact: this is my first week of Aardvark in Tel Aviv and I have already met friends for life!”
“My name is Katherine Alexandra Ruf and I am from Quito, Ecuador, where I was born and raised until I was 17. I went to an American International school, called Academia Cotopaxi. At 17, I moved to Maryland, USA on my own, to finish high school. After a rough time there, I decided I needed a break from academics and wanted to take a gap year. After brainstorming ideas, the option of going to Israel came up. I started researching options and found Aardvark Israel. I thought it was a perfect option for me as it had the perfect balance between classes, internships, and free time. I like to say that it was meant to be, as once I applied everything seemed to fall into place and everything moved smoothly.
I am doing my volunteering at Save A Child’s Heart; an amazing organization that brings in and treats children with congenital heart defects & diseases.
After Aardvark Israel, I am planning on doing Aliyah and staying in Israel.
Fun fact: I have a Scuba Diving license!”
Want to read Raphi and Anna’s bios too? Click here and find out what made them come on a gap year with us, where they intern, and what special hobbies they have!
Every week, each of our six communities travels to a different place in the country, learning and getting to know Israel in the best possible way – by foot. Agripas community students hiked through Nachal Arugot and enjoyed the not-so-cold Israeli weather. They went for a swim in the refreshing water, and hiked one of Israel’s most beautiful trails, near the Dead Sea. The water was sweet!
Our Bezalel students traveled down south to Nachal (river) Mamashit, along with our Levontin and Levinsky communities! The river is dry, so our students could walk through it, and through the unique, peaceful desert.
Rothschild community stayed in the big city and walked around the Carmel Market, where they would spend a lot of time, as locals do. They got a taste of the Market’s amazing culinary scene, which represents the true Israeli melting pot, with delicious versatile food. And we say, is there a better way to learn about cultures?
And on to the next adventure! Our programs aim to form deeper connections between our students and young Israelis, around the same age. Florentin community met with students from Mechinat (Israeli pre-military college) Aderet at Ayanot, and participated in activities with them, beginning to form meaningful relationships. The students will be spending more time with them throughout the semester, so stay tuned!
That’s all for today, everyone! See you all next month 😊
The Aardvark Israel Staff