Fraukje van Es in Israel

Field of study in Wageningen: Business and Consumer Sciences
Study period exchange: 01/03/2020 until 31/07/2020
Country (exchange): Israel
City (exchange): Jerusalem
University (exchange):  The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

2. Motivation for exchange

Why did you choose to go on study exchange?

To improve my English language skills and to see more of the world.

What is the reason you chose for this country/university?

To experience living in a country that is completely different from the Western world.

3. Accessibility to reach destination 

Do you have any tips to reach your exchange destination? (E.g. bus, train, etc.)
Take the plane to Ben-Gurion International Airport. From there you can take the bus to the Central bus station in Jerusalem. From the Central bus station you can take the light rail to Student Village Mount Scopus or another destination in Jerusalem.

4. University and studying

Could you provide some general information about the followed courses?

How is the study formalized? (E.g. study forms, academic level, examination, workload, lesson material)

You can take course at the Rothberg International School (RIS) department and at the faculty departments of the HUJI.

The RIS courses are only available to exchange students which is nice because you can meet a lot of new people. A disadvantage is that these courses are given in a way that looks like the courses you took at high school (you get a lot of homework, the literature you had to read will be discussed during the lectures and the teachers try to stimulate active participation during the lectures).

The faculty courses are available both HUJI students and exchange students. The academic level of the master faculty courses is clearly than the level of the bachelor courses.

What is the culture of the university? (E.g. How approachable are the lecturers,  engagement with local students? What are the differences with the WUR?)

The academic level of the WUR is higher than the academic level of the HUJI. The lecturers of the HUJI are more dedicated and more willing to explain the theory to the students.

What does the university offer the student additionally? (E.g.  Catering, sports facilities, laundry facilities?)

Since I went to Israel during the corona times, I couldn’t make use of all things the university offers in normal times.

On the Student Village Mount Scopus there is the possibility to do your laundry (about 3 euros). For students living in the students village there is a free shuttle bus to the campus.

5. Housing-travelling-living

What are the possibilities for housing? (E.g. Availability to sign up for a room on campus, private rooms, rent rates?)

Via the HUJI you can arrange a room in the Student Village on Mount Scopus. This process is really easy. You get a shared apartment for 5 student in total. You can also choose to look for an apartment in the city centre of Jerusalem. I did this in the last month of the semester. It was really nice to live downtown since we had an apartment close to the Mahane Yehuda Market and close to the old city of Jerusalem. Downtown you experience more the ‘life in the city’ compared to the student village. But the advantage of the student village is that you can meet a lot of new people since you all live together very close by.

What is the culture of the country like? (E.g. Differences with home, local cuisine, habits, manners?)

The Israeli culture is way different from the Western Dutch culture. The Israeli people are very direct in their communication.

Since there are a lot of people with different backgrounds. There are Jewish, Islamic and Christian people that came from all over the world to live in ‘the holy country’.

Could you give a general price indication of the place of residence compared to living in Wageningen?

In general, Israel is an expensive country. Living in the Student Village is very expensive and the food is also not cheap. Therefore it makes sense that exchange students to Israel get a higher grant.

Could you give some information about public transport infrastructure? (E.g. Cost public transport card, taxi prices, how to travel to the university?)

The public transport is less expensive than in The Netherlands.

If you take a taxi in Israel, take one with the sign ‘GETT’. The taxi costs are not very high, ask them always to put on the meter or negotiate about the price.

You can easily reach the campus by bus. There are also free shuttle busses from the Student Village to the campus. From the Student Village, it is 20 minutes by foot to reach the campus.

6. Free time

What are must-sees in the area? (E.g. nearby destinations, how do you prefer to travel, when to plan?)

Since Israel is a very small country, you can easily travel by bus through the whole country. Visiting the Golan Heights in the North and the Negev desert in the South is really worth it!

Sometimes, renting a car saves a lot of time. For renting a car, you need to have a credit card on your own name. A rented car is not very expensive in Israel.

Do you have general tips and tricks about leisure time (E.g. recommendations for restaurants, going out?)

Going out in Tel Aviv is of course a must:)

7. Challenges & best moment abroad

What was a challenge you have experienced?

The main challenge for me was arranging activities during the Shabbat. Shabbat starts at sunset on the Friday and is over when the sun goes down on the Saturday. During this period, there is almost no public transportation and a lot of restaurants, shops and museums are closed.

Tip: Visit during the Shabbat cities in Palestine. You can reach these cities by the Palestinian busses that leaves from Damascus gate (in Jerusalem).

What was your best memory abroad?

The hikes we made in the Golan Heights, the trip to the Negev desert and the trips to Palestine.

8. Contact details (optional)