- What will my daily schedule in Ashdod be like?
Once you become fully immersed in your program, you will be volunteering at your schools Sunday through Thursday. Every school has a different schedule, but you will begin in the morning and finish in the early afternoon. Twice a week you will be going to ulpan, two hours each time. Once a week there will be an enrichment class where you learn and discuss various topics concerning Israel, Israeli society, and Judaism. In addition, you will get the chance to volunteer somewhere else in your community. Many options are provided for you, however Israel Way-Oranim can help you find a place that best fits your interests and/or passions.
- What can I expect from the school I'll be working in?
Expect a welcoming and positive environment! All the english teachers, as well as the rest of the staff, really appreciate you taking time out of your lives to come to Israel and work with these children. The children are eager to improve their English and they're even more eager to learn about their volunteers.
- What is the training like?
You will spend a month commuting to Tel Aviv to attend classes at Seminar Hakibbutzim, Israel’s top teaching college, before you ever enter a classroom. You will be, in essence, a full-time college student, learning how to teach English as a foreign language. The training is a combination of lectures and smaller group sessions with an individual instructor, who will be your mentor throughout your 10 months in Israel. You will also begin your Ulpan classes before you begin teaching in your school.
- What are our responsibilities for the school year and day?
On a day to day basis you might be working with children one-on-one, in small groups, or in their classrooms. Some of your responsibilities might include reading through their textbooks and helping them answer questions in their workbooks, playing word games and just being there when they have questions. Everyday is different, challenging and gratifying. Over the year, as time passes, you will develop a special connection with your students and you will see their confidence grow tremendously.
- How long are we working at the school for? Can we change the school where we work?
Once you arrive in Ashdod, you will have a couple weeks to get settled and learn some basic Hebrew. After that you will be working in your schools until the end of your program. You shouldn't have any problems with your school placements, however, if there is an issue, your city coordinator will work with you to help you, they really just want you to be happy and enjoy your experience here in Israel.
- How many kids are in each classroom?
The size of the class ranges from 20-30 students. Sometimes you will be working in smaller groups or one-on-one with the students.
- What will my accommodations in Ashdod be like?
The apartments in Ashdod are unbelievable. Israel Way-Oranim, in partnership with the city of Ashdod, has provided you with an amazing apartment with the beach in arms reach. A fully equipped kitchen is included, a washing machine and drying racks are in the unit. A spacious living room with suitable furniture, a flatscreen T.V., a dining table and chairs. There are two bathrooms in each apartment, both have showers. There are two people per bedroom, with closets, storage units and hangers. Oh yea, you can't forget about the balcony overlooking the beach!
Ashdod is a great city! Everything you could ever want or need can be found in Ashdod. There are plenty of shopping centres, with supermarkets, fresh fruit, vegetable and fish markets, banks, money exchange depots, pharmacies, eateries, and doctors just around the corner. Down at the pier, there are plenty of restaurants, bars, lounges and clubs to pass your weekends and evenings at. The shuk is right on the beach, it's a great walk and is also easy to get to using Ashdod's bus system. The community is unbelievably welcoming and helpful.
- How do I get from one place to another?
Everything is within your reach. You can walk almost anywhere you need to go. There is also an awesome bike shop in Ashdod, where you can buy a bike and sell it back at the end of your trip. Ashdod also has a great bus system operating within the city, and it also takes you to Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and anywhere else in the country you would like to go to.
- Will my 1000 NIS stipend be enough to cover my monthly expenses?
1000 NIS translates to roughly $270 a month. This money will last you if you only
use it for food (especially if you shop in the shuk where everything is cheaper), but
you will also need it to buy the essentials like toilet paper, laundry detergent, dish
soap, sponges, etc. Toiletries, like shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, etc. are fairly
expensive in Israel. In addition, you’ll likely need things like clothes along the way. You may want to travel around Israel on your free time so this will also help with that.
- What are some things I should take care of before I leave the states?
1. Notify your bank and credit card company that you will be moving to Israel for 10
months. Otherwise (if they’re a good company) they will likely freeze your account after your first transaction in a foreign country. Tip: Paypal is hyper-vigilant about this as well. Some ATM's only accept cards with a 4 digit PIN code.
2. If you are prescribed any medications, bring enough for at least three months; it
takes about that long to figure out if your specific prescriptions are available here
in Israel and if not, for the Israeli doctor you see to find a substitute. Your family/friends can get in a lot of trouble if they try to mail you certain prescriptions. Also,get a note from your doctor indicating what they’ve been prescribing you.
3. Bring a laptop and/or tablet with you. Load Skype onto it and make sure your family and friends have your username. You will want to stay in touch with them but it costs a fortune to do it via cell phone.
4. Change your address at the post office, preferably to your parents’ address or a
close friend’s. You will keep receiving mail and final bills after you leave; the last
thing you want is to come back to America and have your credit rating smashed to
5. Suspend your cell phone service. This way you won’t lose your contacts or your number, but you won’t have to pay a bill every month that, honestly, you can’t afford. Most wireless providers will only suspend for three months at a time, but all this means is you have to call them every three months (via Skype) and re-suspend
your service. While in Israel you will be ordering a phone though Oranim Project from Israel Phones. All in coming calls are free and calls to other partipants who ordered Israel Phones are also free.
6. Each participant on an Israel Way-Oranim Project program is responsible to purchase their own health insurance package for the duration of the program. If you already have health insurance, you must verify it covers you in Israel. In case you are not covered, we can recommend several health insurance companies that offer packages at reasonable prices.
7. You will need to obtain a visa. You automatically receive a 3-months visa upon entering Israel. During your stay within the 3 months, our staff will accompany you to extend your visa in Israel for another 3 months for minimal cost (approximately $50). You will receive your student visa after being approved for your MASA funding. For the documents you will need please contact firstname.lastname@example.org