Saturday, 4 April 2009

American Universities Plan Their Own Study-Abroad Programs in Israel

Daily News Blog, April 3, 2009

Jerusalem — For decades, hundreds of American students have spent their junior year abroad at special programs on Israeli university campuses, but in a new trend, American universities are opening their own study-abroad programs in Israel, staffed by their own faculty members.

About 500 students from American universities are now enrolled in study-abroad programs in Israel lasting one semester or longer. That number is expected to double over the next year, said Ayelet Margolin, an official at MASA Israel Journey, an organization that helps coordinate the programs on behalf of the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Among the American institutions with such programs in Israel are Boston University, Columbia University, the University of Miami, and the University of Pennsylvania. Other universities that have already announced plans to open such programs include Harvard University, New York University, the University of Illinois, the University of Maryland, and Washington University in St. Louis.

“One reason Israel is so attractive is that there is such a broad range of choice,” said Ms. Margolin.

Some programs that were halted over security concerns after the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada uprising, in 2000, have now resumed. One of them is the University of California system’s partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “It is in the best interest of our students to once again provide educational opportunities in Israel,” Michael Cowan, acting director of the education-abroad program at the University of California, said in a written statement. —Matthew Kalman

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