Choosing to come to Israel is a big decision, and we are sure you have big questions. We are here to help!
For fast answers, read below our frequently asked questions. Of course, the ITF Israel Experience team is here to personally answer any questions or concerns you have. Feel free to contact us or e-mail ITF@Israelexperience.org.
Living in Israel
Where exactly are the accommodations and what type of accommodation is it?
ITF Israel Experience operates ITF in two central cities – Rishon LeZion, 10 miles south-east of Tel Aviv, and Petach Tikvah, 8 miles east of Tel Aviv. In both cities, we have housing in apartment buildings in the center of town, close to shops, cafes, bars and public transportation. The apartments are 3-6 bedroom apartments, furnished and basically equipped, with 6-8 participants living in each apartment (depending on the number of rooms). There are multiple bathrooms in each apartment, and the communal spaces include the kitchen and living room. Most participants will be sharing a room with one roommate, with a limited option to have a single room at an additional cost. All apartments have wireless internet.
Check out our acommodations for Petach Tikva here
Rishon LeZion here.
Are we assigned a roommate?
During the first week of orientation, you get to know your fellow participants and you decide who will be your roommate for your time in Israel. Your other flat mates will be assigned by the ITF staff.
What happens during the high holidays, like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? And Shabbat?
Most of Israel goes on vacation during that time, so you can take the chance to explore Israel on your own or we could always connect you with a host family to spend the holidays and Shabbats during the year.
What is a typical week like for fellows?
Each ITF participant (“ITFer”) is required to complete 20-25 working hours a week at his/her assigned school. In addition, participants are expected to take on an additional volunteer project in the community for at least 4 weekly hours as well as participate in Ulpan Hebrew classes twice a week in the afternoon. There is one day a week in which fellows are not in school; twice a month this day will be dedicated to programming (either teacher training or educational day trips around the country) and the others are usually off days for you to enjoy.
As you can see there is quite a lot going on in the program, but at the same time there is plenty of free time – during most of the afternoons, on the weekends and during the Jewish holidays, when Israeli schools are on break – participants are free to enjoy their time by joining a gym, go hiking, take classes, etc – it is up to you.
As someone who doesn’t speak Hebrew, will I be able to do valuable work?
The language barrier is a challenge on the program, as the students’ level of English in the school may vary greatly, but this challenge is definitely manageable! Other than obviously improving your Hebrew skills through Ulpan, ITF also does its best to provide you with tools to overcome this challenge and use it to your advantage as part of the training you receive. Remember! The purpose of the program is to enhance Israeli students’ English skills – which can only be achieved by communicating in ENGLISH.
The staff from the schools you will be working with understand they are bringing English speakers on board, which means that your tasks will be conducted in English. More importantly- they’re looking for native English speakers! You bring your skill set and motivation and they, along with your staff, work with you from there.
Fees and Expenses
What is the exact cost of the program and what does this cover?
With the generous scholarship given by Masa and the Israeli Ministry of Education, the program cost for the participant is $1000 for the year, including: housing, a monthly stipend of 1000 shekels to help cover groceries and everyday shopping, health insurance, Hebrew Ulpan, transportation in center of Israel (Tel Aviv area), over 60 hours of ITF teacher training, trips and seminars across the country, staff support, airfare reimbursement upon successful completion of the program.
How does the flight reimbursement work?
As part of the subsidy ITF participants get, your airfare will be reimbursed by Masa. The condition for flight reimbursement is successful completion of the full 10 month program, up to the equivalent of 5000 shekels (~$1300).
What is the application process?
Once you start your online application and leave your information (make sure to choose Rishon LeZion or Petach Tikva as your city of choice), an Israel Experience representative will contact you to set up a Skype interview with an ITF Israel Experience staff member in order to get to know you better. Shortly after your Skype interview you will be asked to upload the following supplementary documentation to your application:
Police background check
Masa Israel grant application form (through www.masaisrael.org/grants/apply)
Once all your application materials are reviewed by Israel Experience and Masa, you will be notified about acceptance to the program. Good luck!
What is the payment process? Must I pay a deposit to secure my place?
Payment for ITF is as follows:
1. Upon acceptance to program, you will need to pay a nonrefundable $300 deposit to reserve your spot. This payment must be made within 2 weeks from the date of initial acceptance.
Note! You may also defer your acceptance to the next admission date (December 15th, 2014 and later March 1st, May 1st, or June 15th, 2015), in which case a spot will not be reserved for you, but should you decided to join the program later on and there are still open spots – you will not be required to reapply or conduct any additional interviews.
2. Payment of the remaining $700 program cost is due no later than July 1st, 2015.
How much spending money will I need to cover my day-to-day living expenses?
We recommend bringing $300-$400 a month for your personal expenses such as food and cell phone plan. It is not recommended to rely on the monthly 1000 shekels stipend as your single source of income for the year.
Do I organize my own medical coverage before arriving in Israel, or do you organize a group coverage?
We provide your insurance during the program.
What are the requirements for my application to the program?
The ITF Israel Experience program is open to college graduates aged 21-30 that are recognized as Jewish by the local Jewish community or by one of the recognized denominations of Judaism.
Due to the sensitivity of working with young children, applicants will need to present a Letter of Good Standing/Background Check from the police and a signed health declaration/medical form prior to program acceptance.
How many people usually participate in the program and where are they from?
Each cohort (Petach Tikvah and Rishon LeZion) includes 20-30 participants from English speaking countries around the world, mainly the USA.
What certificate do participants on ITF receive upon completion of the program?
At the end of the program, ITF graduates receive two certificates: from the Talpiyot Academic College of Education, affirming that they participated in 60 hours of training in teaching English as a foreign language in Israel; from Masa, affirming the time spent in the classroom as an English as a Second Language (ESL) guide.