December 6, 2009 / 19 Kislev 5770
Twenty-one college counselors and gap year consultants visit israel, learn about interim opportunities for students
A dozen leading public and private high schools represented
(Jerusalem, Israel) - Advisors from leading high schools across the United States and Canada arrived in Israel today for a week-long tour exploring long-term study and volunteer opportunities in Israel. The trip, sponsored by MASA Israel Journey, is designed to familiarize high school counselors with opportunities for students interested in taking a gap year “on” before matriculating into university or following graduation.
As leading universities actively encourage high school graduates to take a year overseas before entering college, and as employers seek out job candidates with the skills to succeed in a competitive global environment, participation in gap year programs abroad has become an increasingly popular trend among North American young adults.
Leading industry consultants, including two from The Center for Interim Programs (the first and longest-running independent gap-year counseling organization in the United States), are represented on the mission. Among the high schools represented are Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, AZ; the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, CA; New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL; Gann Academy in Waltham, MA; and the Lancaster County Day School in Lancaster, PA.
"The purpose of the trip is to present the wide variety of opportunities – that is, post-high school and post-university internship, service and study programs – available in Israel so that these advisors can go back to their schools and recommend these programs to interested students," said Avi Rubel, director of MASA North America.
MASA Israel Journey was is a joint project of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel that enables more than 9,000 young Jewish adults from around the world to spend 5-12 months in Israel connecting to the land and its people, strengthening their Jewish identities, and developing their professional and life skills for a successful future.
Today, there are 100,000 pre-college students from around the world on gap year programs in 50 countries. North American interest in gap year abroad has increased significantly in recent years: the number of students from abroad choosing to spend time on programs in Israel immediately after graduating high school has more than doubled since the year 2000, from 1,000 to 2,500 this year.
The interest in post-college interim programs has increased as well. “MASA alone has seen a 40 percent increase in the number of registrants for our post-university internship, volunteer and graduate academic programs over this time last year,” says Rubel.
The advisors now taking part in MASA Israel Journey’s study mission in Israel will visit Hebrew University, the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and a variety of alternative programs, including the Conservative Movement's Nativ program, the Reform Movement’s Netzer program and a kibbutz program that immerses students in Israeli life.
To encourage students to study in Israel, MASA provides automatic grants ranging from $1,000 to $4,500 for people under 30 working or studying in Israel for at least five months, through the support of United Jewish Communities/the Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod-UIA. MASA also provides additional scholarships on a needs basis.
Please click here to read the bios of two leading industry consultants from The Center for Interim Programs