Why do Israelis go to check overseas?

The desire for emancipation, new encounters and life experiences motivates this “desire for another place”

Every year, thousands of Israelis pack their bags abroad to study, or even, for some, start a professional career. According to a 2021 OECD report, Romania, the United States, Germany and Moldova are among the top destinations for Israeli students. More than 20,000 of them are currently abroad to pursue a university course, out of the more than 300,000 enrolled at universities in the Jewish state. But why do they choose to get a degree far from their homeland? i24NEWS collected the testimonies of those who left everything to live an experience that marked them with a hot iron.

Noa Krotman, a 24-year-old Israeli, chose to study in Milan, the design capital of the world. She notes that the approach to the field studied abroad is different and broader than that offered in the Jewish state. She also considers that, back in Israel, getting an internship and then a job is easier when you have this cultural background imported from abroad.

And so, for most Israelis as for any young person in the world, the desire for emancipation, new encounters and life experiences, away from the family cocoon, motivates this “desire for another place”.

“My parents lived in New York for a year when they were my age. I grew up with the stories of their adventure and was always fascinated by the idea of ​​living in another country. When I found out I wanted to study interior design, it was clear that for such a competitive field , I had to study in a place that would give me advantages, so I went to Milan at a private university”, she says.

The girl explains that it also proved to her that she could handle any situation.

“Being away from my family and friends allows me to learn a lot about my personal skills. At my age I already led an Easter seder, had to go to the hospital and manage a lot of things on my own with no safety net, it gave me great self-confidence “, she says.

In October, Noa will begin its third and final year of licensing.

“It’s an amazing experience! I study in an international program, which allows me to be in contact with people who come from all over the world. My English has also improved considerably,” he said.

For Gil Ezovi, who did his MBA (Master’s in Business Administration and Management) for two years at the prestigious Esade University of Barcelona, ​​one of the most renowned in the world, the goal was then to work in Europe.

“Several members of my family studied abroad and I always wanted to go diving, so I got to a point in my life where I needed a change and I took the opportunity. I have European nationality so it was easier to get to the mainland,” he said.

Arriving in Spain at the age of 34, Gil had already worked in Israel before resuming his studies.

“It was a real two-year break from my professional life because I was able to fully focus on my studies and enjoy myself with my friends. In my class there were 180 people from countries I had never been to and that gave me the opportunity to discover different people, with lifestyles and ideas that I didn’t know before. They are friends for life”, he said.

Gil says the experience abroad gives a professional and personal perspective that Israelis cannot get if they study at home with peers who have a similar life journey.

After graduating, Gil was recruited to a technology company in Germany. The young man admits that the attractive salary is one of the main reasons why Israelis work abroad.

“When you invest in an MBA that is very expensive (70,000 euros in Europe) it is mainly to find a job outside Israel, which will pay very well. Abroad, the advantage is that these degrees are recognized everywhere, network at the university also helps us to be recruited and the plurality of cultures brings real added value to companies”, said Gil.

Igor Kruter, an Israeli who studied for 5 years at Artez, an art academy in Arnhem, Netherlands, guarantees that “studies are much cheaper and of better quality” in Europe. “It was my dream to study in Holland, it’s a culture I feel very close to.”

This mobility for European students has been largely democratized for years thanks to the Erasmus university exchange programme, created in 1987, which has been a great success among young people from the 33 member countries. Around 12 million people have already been able to benefit from it, of which, since 2015, 6,582 students and teachers have come to Israel thanks to Erasmus+.

Because Israel is not to be outdone and it can also be highly attractive to foreigners! Tel-Aviv University welcomes, for example, 2,000 students from all over the world every year.

Last month, the Board of Higher Education announced that it would close the US medical programs at Tel Aviv University, Ben Gurion University and Technion to replace the 130 foreign students with Israelis, due to a shortage of Israeli doctors and places. Gil believes that, on the contrary, there is not much competition between Israelis and foreigners in Israel.

“I think closing these schools to foreigners is a mistake because all the analyzes show that when there is diversity, the results are better. and results. This is not the right solution because diversity is an asset for the country”, he stresses.

In Israel, he laments, there are few full-time teachers. According to him, more employees from abroad should be recruited in Israel to gradually import the European model to Israeli companies.

Most Israeli medical students are notably forced to study abroad due to lack of space within the establishments. According to OECD data, 60% of students leaving the country are Israeli Arabs. His favorite places are the West Bank, Jordan or even Romania and Ukraine.

However, many initiatives are underway to help foreign students come to Israel, such as Minhal Hastudentim, a branch of the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption, the most important official body that encourages them, establishing a link between immigrant students and education. superior system in Israel.

Caroline Haïat is a journalist for the French website i24NEWS

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