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Masa Israel Teaching Fellows

FAQ



  • What will my daily schedule be like?

You will be working in your school five days a week (Sunday – Thursday) for at
least five hours a day. In addition, you will have at least one additional volunteering
placement, which will take place in the afternoon/early evening hours one to two
days a week. You also have Ulpan (Hebrew) class two evenings a week and an
enrichment (educational) session one day a week.

 

  • What can I expect from the school I’ll be working in?

The schools in Ramla and Lod are underprivileged communities where most students never encounter English in their day-to-day lives (unlike children living in Tel Aviv, for example). You’ll be working with students in grades 1 through 8 depending on which school you’re placed in, and you’ll be hard pressed to find one that isn’t eager to learn English. Do NOT be dissuaded by teachers telling you that a student is a “problem child” or “doesn’t understand;” the odds are that this student has never received the one-on-one attention they all crave. Bear in mind that the average class size is 35 students, which leads to stressed-out teachers and children who fly under the radar. You will have another ITF participant volunteering in the school with you. It’s challenging work but the rewards are innumerable. The students worship you, jump at every opportunity to speak with you, and truly treasure the time they get to spend with you. You’ll feel like a celebrity every single time you walk into the building.

 

  • 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? Do we design lesson plans or special projects?

It depends on the individual teacher.  Teaching Fellows are responsible for helping to teach the course material and working with students in the class, as well as one-on-one or in small groups.  Each Teach Fellow's talents an abilities are utilized by the teachers they work with.

 

  • How long are we working at the school for? Change we change the school where we work?

Generally, you can not change schools.  The commitment to the students is long-term, and should not be cut short.  However, careful attention is taken in the beginning of your program to place you in the right school.  You choose which school you prefer to work in.

 

 

  • How many kids are in each classroom?

There could be up to 30 students in each classroom, but most of the time you will be working in smaller groups with 3-5 students. 
 

 

  • What will my accommodations in Ramla be like?

You will be living in furnished apartments with other Oranim Project participants, likely
ITF participants, located throughout Ramla. The average is four people per two-
bedroom apartment. All of the apartments have air conditioning, heat/space
heaters, Internet, a kitchen with dishes/pots/pans and a washing machine. You
will want to bring your own bedding, though you can buy a lot of it here in the shuk
(market). The bedrooms have lots of closet/drawer space, so you won’t be pressed
for storage. Oranim covers all of the apartment expenses: electric, AC/heat, Cable TV, Internet,
water.

 

  • 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.
An important note: there is no nightlife in Ramla, so if you want to go out you’ll have
to go to Tel Aviv, which will cost between 12 and 20 NIS each way. These travel
costs can quickly add up and eat away at your stipend, so it’s wise for you to have
some money in a bank account before you come that you can use to cover those
additional expenses.

 

  • What is Ramla like?

Ramla is located in central Israel with a mixed population of Jews and Arabs totaling nearly 63,500 residents. Of the 63,500, nearly 15,000 of the residents are immigrants who came from the Former Soviet Union and Ethiopia. Having been established in 716AD, Ramla is one of the oldest cities in Israel. Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Ramla became a predominantly Jewish city. Ramla is a very progressive city, but has a lot of challenges.  The people though really appreciate the work of the volunteers, and the help we provide to the youth and adults.  Nearly everyone in Ramla and Lod is very welcoming and makes you fee like you are a part of the community.  Also, host families are optional but a great way to make a connection with real Israelis.  They will invite you over for Shabbat dinners and holidays.

 

  • 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
bits.
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 info@destinationisrael.com

 

  • What should I bring with me?

Oranim provides you with a list of items to bring, but first and foremost you will
definitely want to bring quite a few pairs of good shoes since you’ll be walking
everywhere. T-shirts, tank tops and shorts are obvious since Israel is hot, but it
does get quite chilly in the winter months: don’t underestimate the importance of
long-sleeved shirts, long pants and a warm jacket. Israeli schools are pretty casual
when it comes to the dress code; you can wear jeans to work here. Don’t look like
a bum, but don’t think you have to come in a button-down shirt and khakis every
day. That being said, nice clothes/clubbing clothes never hurt for the times that you
want to have fun. To make your move here easier, bring at least a month’s worth
of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, floss, lotion, etc. You don’t want
to spend your first month here searching for these essentials when you barely
understand the language. As far as other items go, you can buy most everything you
need here in Israel, but girls, you’ll have a hard time finding your go-to brands of
cosmetics (unless you solely wear MAC and Smashbox). Stock up on your Covergirl
and Maybelline before you come. Guys, the same goes for you and whatever stuff
you put in your hair. Speaking of hair, your hair straighteners and curling irons
WILL work here IF they don’t have an electronic display. Just go to an electronics
store like Radio Shack and buy a converter; it will say on the box if it works with
heating products.

 

  •  How do I get from one place to another?

Everything you need in Ramla is within walking distance. Outside of Ramla, there
are many options. For the first month when you are at Seminar Hakibbutzim,
Oranim provides you with a bus pass that will get you pretty much anywhere in
the Tel Aviv area. This is awesome, but it ends once you’re done at Seminar. After
that, Oranim gives you 175 NIS a month to buy a bus pass, which is enough for a
pass to get you around the Ramla-Lod area. For the people working at schools in
Lod/volunteering in Lod, this is indispensable. Friday nights and Saturdays are a
different story since Israel pretty much shuts down for Shabbat. The buses stop
running and the only way in and out of Ramla is by sherut (shared cab) or taxi (very
expensive). You can catch a sherut to most places in the Tel Aviv area on those days.
A sherut to the central bus station in Tel Aviv costs 12 NIS during the week and 16
NIS during Shabbat. Ramla is in a great location and it’s very easy to get from one
place to another from there. Bus drivers/sherut drivers are usually very happy to
help Americans figure out where they’re going and how to get there.

 

  • 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!

 

  • What is Ashdod like?

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 bits.

 

 

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 info@destinationisrael.com