Dear Fellowship Applicant,
Thank for your interest in the Israel Teaching Fellows: Israel Teaching Fellows program! We are excited to get started on your application to the fellowship.
Before we begin your interview,we’d like you to read over essential information about the Israel Teaching Fellows: Israel Experience program. Part of the interview will be checking to make sure you understood and read all of the below information. We will also give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the program.
Israel Teaching Fellows (ITF) is a new and innovative program offering you an opportunity to work with Israeli youth in classrooms and small groups to improve their language skills and enhance the community in which you are working. In Israel, English is one of the keys to success in the future. Students must pass English tests to be accepted to college, and English comprehension opens up job and travel opportunities for the future. As a participant on the ITF program, you will receive intensive teacher training courses, work in class and small groups teaching English, meet peers your age interested in the same goals, travel the country and learn Hebrew.
1) Israel Experience’s Role
The Israel Experience is an educational tourism company, responsible for the program while you are here. You are supported by trained and knowledgeable guides and coordinators who will work to make your time here the best possible. We are responsible for the educational and logistical content on the program, and we provide emotional support and social programming while you are here. Moving to a new country can be an exciting and challenging choice, so we ask that all participants take responsibility to make the most of ITF and we will definitely agree to do the same.
2) ITF Israel Experience Program Information
Program Opening and Orientation
The 2014-2015 session will begin August 28, 2014 with a group weekend to get to know your fellow participants, the staff, the program structure and your first taste of exploring the beauty of Israel on the program. After this weekend you will be moving to the Israel Experience ITF cities – Rishon Lezion or Petach Tikvah, in the center of the country (10 miles away for Tel Aviv), and settle in to your apartment for the year.
At the beginning of September, your week long intensive teacher training will start. There will be organized group transportation to the training location and back. In the past, the training has included participants from all the ITF programs in the various cities. School observations during your teacher training will be incorporated to both break up the teacher training, help make the theoretical more practical and help you to become more familiar with the school in which you’ll be working at during the year and Israeli school system in general.
Other than teacher training, your first few weeks on ITF will include intensive Hebrew learning, city orientation and our educational enrichment program. By mid-September you will be placed in your school and start working as an Israel Teaching Fellow!
Main body of the ITF program
During the main body of the program in which you will be teaching in the classrooms, there will be supplementary programming including tours, lectures and seminars (details below).
1) Typical Schedule During ITF
As a large portion of the educational programming takes place during the orientation, the daily schedule during the orientation will be very structured and intense. However, following the orientation program, you will be living on your own and you will determine your work schedule in coordination with your school.
Starting mid-September, afternoons are usually spent 1 day a week volunteering at a placement set up by the Israel Experience and 2 days of Hebrew classes provided by the program through the end of March, with a potential to continue learning. Outside of work hours you are free to experience life as an Israeli by visiting friends or enjoying near by cafés or restaurants, shopping for groceries, exploring the city, and socializing with people in your area. You will receive a schedule of seminars and trips that will take place during your classroom portion of the program which are an integral and mandatory part of the program. During this time the group usually meets once a week to every two for programming/checks in/ speakers/ tours and more.
2) Classroom Experience and Expectations
ITF Participants will be teaching in the 3rd through 8th grades, a decision made by the Ministry of Education, in an effort to help children with their foundational levels of English. You will be working in conjunction with Israeli teachers to provide support to students both struggling and excelling in the classroom, offering them small group opportunities and one on one education. The schools that we work with vary in levels from low to middle socioeconomic statuses. You will be spending 25 hours a week in/out of classrooms working with a variety of levels. Under the wing of an educational mentor at your school and the support of Israel Experience and your pedagogical mentor, we will help you make the most of your teaching time.
We do expect participants to come with appropriate expectations for classroom experiences as will be discussed in the interview. Many Israeli schools can be vastly different from your previous experiences in educational environments. Some of the cultural differences may include the amount of yelling in Israeli classrooms, different disciplinary measures, the number of students walking around out of class, English teachers (and many school teachers) without fluent English and more. This is definitely not the case in all schools however in some of the schools that we work with, especially in low income areas, the challenges in the school are far greater than just the level of English the children are achieving. It is essential that you come into the school environment with an understanding that the cultural differences will be vast and that it might take some time to acclimate to the school environment. In addition, in Israel it often takes a few weeks after school starts to iron out teacher’s schedules. Because of this, it might also take a few weeks to iron out your schedule and to find out with which exact students you will be working. However, we consider this part essential in learning your school environment and adjusting to Israeli culture. We find that the schools are enormously grateful for our fellows, accept you with open arms, and make extreme efforts to make you feel welcome and a part of the school.
At the end of the program, you will receive two certificates:
3) Educational Enrichment Program
Being in Israel is not just about your classroom experience. ITF also believes in a complementary programming structure, allowing you to learn about Israel from the inside and not just from a tour bus. By exploring the country by foot, participating in educational seminars ranging in topics from Religion and State to Green Energy in Israel (for example), you will learn about current events and Israel’s history while seeing the beauty that the country has to offer. In addition, we will try to constantly update you on cultural events happening throughout the country through our weekly newsletters and programming. As adults on an independent program in Israel, our weekly newsletters will help you also take advantage of some of the events Israel has to offer.
4) Volunteer Opportunities
Though teaching will be your top priority, we also believe that efforts should be made to develop other personal interests. We will work to connect you to a volunteer opportunity outside of the classroom helping to integrate you into the community and develop more transferable skills. The type of volunteer opportunities we generally offer are work with specific communities such as youth, adults, individuals with special needs, the Ethiopian community, work with animals, and more.
The community volunteering opportunities often include direct service work that allows you to interact with the community beyond the walls of your classroom placement. We highly encourage you to seek out your own volunteering opportunity according to your personal interest and passion (as long as it serves the community at large) and are there to assist with making the necessary connections.
5) Hebrew Learning
We see your continuing Hebrew studies as an essential component of the program. We will begin with an intensive Hebrew push in the beginning of the program where we try to infuse Hebrew learning whenever possible into the orientation and training month. With a group of 20-30, it can be difficult to find the perfect level for each person in our group. We can guarantee that there will be at least 2 groups in each city to split up the diverse levels and we will make all efforts to create solutions to accommodate the differences beyond that in our group.
Once you start in your schools, we will continue learning Hebrew two afternoons/evenings with a local teacher up through Pesach. It is possible that the Hebrew will continue for the rest of the year, but this will depend on a number of factors including the group’s interest, time constraints, and more.
6) Program Language
All educational programming through the Israel Experience ITF program will be conducted in English, and work in English classes will be in English. Work in classrooms will be a mixture of Hebrew/English. We encourage you to do all that you can to improve your Hebrew level before you come as it will be to your personal benefit (and we will expect you know the alphabet in print and cursive before arriving). Some ideas include local language exchanges, classes at your local Jewish community centers, books to study on your own. Here are some websites that might help in the process:
www.ulpanor.com – This is an intensive Hebrew program that past Israel Experience participants have recommended. You can also check out http://eteacherhebrew.com/ or search for free Hebrew podcasts online. Some participants have also recommended Rosetta’s stone.
7) Our Partner Cities Rishon Lezion, Petach Tikvah and Accommodations
Only 10 miles south of Tel Aviv you will discover a vibrant and ever-growing community – the city of Rishon LeZion, lying on the beautiful shore line of the Mediterranean Sea. From its early days as the first settlement established by the new immigrants of the first Aliyah back in the late 1800s until our time, the city has rapidly grown to be the fourth largest city in Israel and a metropolitan center of the area. Rishon LeZion offers an urban life style with plenty of shopping centers, restaurants and bars, parks and of course the beach, while still maintaining a strong sense of community with its special mix of different populations – sabras (native Israelis), new immigrants from Ethiopia and Former Soviet Union and more.
ITF participants in Rishon LeZion will enjoy living in the center of town, in apartment buildings located no more than a short walking distance from one another, which are close to the central streets of the city offering great restaurants, cafes and shops, as well as convenient public transportation to Tel Aviv.
The ITF apartments in Rishon LeZion typically include 3-4 bedrooms, multiple bathrooms and communal areas (living room and kitchen). Each apartment can have 5-7 participants, with two participants per room (there might be a limited option to have a single room at an additional cost). The apartments are basically furnished and are equipped with kitchen utensils, a washing machine and wireless internet access.
The ultimate hands-on Israeli living experience awaits you in the city of Petach Tikvah, only 10 miles east of Tel Aviv. Petach Tikvah (“Opening of Hope” in Hebrew) has come a long way since its establishment as the first Jewish agricultural settlement in the center of Israel back in the 1870s, and has become the sixth largest city in the country. Today, Petach Tikvah is one of Israel’s leading business and technology centers, with world-known companies such as Intel and IBM setting their headquarters within the city. There are plenty of shopping centers, restaurants and coffee shops to enjoy around the city, and an excursion to Tel Aviv’s non-stop action is just a short bus ride away. The interesting thing about Petach Tikvah is that alongside these trends of development, the city has kept its simple and authentic, and very “salt of the earth” Israeli nature – with its fabulous open air shuk (market) that offers fresh goods and produce every day, amazing falafel and shawarma stands on the street corners and most importantly its warm people; the population of Petach Tikvah is very diverse and is comprised of Sabra Israelis, secular and religious, Sephardic and Ashenazi, and new immigrants from Ethiopia, Former Soviet Union, and more. If you want to truly immerse yourself in Israeli society and live like an Israeli – Petach Tikvah is the place for you!
ITF participants in Petach Tikvah will enjoy living in the center of town, in apartment buildings located no more than a short walking distance from one another, which are close to the central streets of the city offering great restaurants, cafes and shops, as well as convenient public transportation to Tel Aviv.
The ITF apartments in Petach Tikvah include 3-6 bedrooms, multiple bathrooms and communal areas (living room and kitchen). Each apartment can contain 6-8 participants, with two participants per room (there might be a limited option to have a single room at an additional cost). The apartments are basically furnished and are equipped with kitchen utensils, a washing machine and wireless internet access.
Bedding, pillows and towels are not provided, but you will have time to buy these products during our orientation. We provide basic supplies you need for your apartment, but you may choose to invest initially as a group or individually in order to make your house into a home. So, please plan for an initial expense at the start of the program.
8) Interactions with Israelis
Not only will you be living in a city center where you will have the opportunity to meet with peers your age, but the Israel Experience will also provide a weekend seminar towards the beginning of the program that encourages dialogue and social interaction with Israeli contemporaries.
Because there is a large college in Rishon and Petach Tikvah is close to the Bar Ilan campus, there are different groups of young people also living in the cities. We will make all efforts to create encounters with Israelis your age and give you opportunities to meet new people.
We have also found that participants have been able to connect to people through volunteering and through your school environment.
For those looking for additional opportunities to connect with Israelis, we would be happy to connect you to a local host family to spend Shabbat dinners or evening nights with and “live like a local”.
1) Acceptance Process, Registration Fee and Program Payment
Registration for ITF 2014-2015 will be on a rolling basis, centered around 3 admission dates:
December 15th, 2013
March 1st, 2014
May 1st, 2014
Once you have interviewed with the program over Skype, you must submit the supplementary documents – medical forms, Masa grant application and a letter of good standing from your local police within 2 weeks after your Skype interview. Only after you have the interview and all documentation is reviewed you will be notified about your acceptance status from Masa and the Israel Experience.
Once you have been accepted, you will have two weeks to make a decision:
The ITF Israel Experience recruitment team will be in touch with you after your acceptance to facilitate the deposit payment/referral process.
2) Registration Documents
1. Letter of Good Standing:
If you have not yet done so, please note that all participants must also provide a certificate from their local police department showing that you do not have a criminal record. Please note that it is worthwhile to do this as soon as possible as it can take a few weeks. In addition, there can be a cost associated of up to $30 which is the participant’s responsibility to coverMedical Forms:
2. Your medical forms are needed within 2 weeks of your Skype interview, along with your Masa grant and letter of good standing. Once again, your acceptance to the program is contingent upon receipt of your additional documentation and the rest of your supplementary documentation.
3.Masa Grant Application:
Please apply for your Masa grant as soon as possible on http://www.masaisrael.org/grants/apply
Please look for ITF Israel Experience under the choice of forms and upload on your individualized proof of application to the registration site.
All three documents must be uploaded onto the www.israelteachingfellows.org website.
3) Program cost, stipend and deposits:
Though the program cost is valued at over $14,000, the program cost to you is only $1000 after those that are eligible receive the grant from Masa and the Israeli Ministry of Education. Participants will also receive a monthly stipend of around 1000 shekels to help cover basic expenses. As will be discussed in the interview, this is supposed to be money to help make the financial burden of the program easier, but we do not expect that amount to be able to cover all your expenses fully for the month. You must budget to bring an additional few hundred dollars each month to cover your expenses.
The cost of the ITF Israel Experience program is $1000 (one of the most highly subsidized programs on Masa) and it covers the program housing, Hebrew learning, educational programming, monthly stipend and transportation, and school placement; all of these factors are discussed more in detail in this letter.
In addition, health insurance for your stay is also covered as part of your stay though pre-existing conditions, psychological care, property insurance, physical therapy, non-emergency optical care, non-emergency dental care, extreme sports (unless directly through the program), and alcohol/drug related incidents are not covered. Please make sure to take out additional health insurance if you have any pre-existing conditions.
The Israel Experience is very lucky to have Masa and the Ministry of Education as partners in this program. Masa has decided to cover the flight costs of participants up to $1300. This amount is dependent on the official amount that Masa decides. Masa transfers the money to the program, and Israel Experience will refund the money back to you upon successful completion of the program. The Israel Experience does not cover the expense of the international bank transfer, however whenever possible we will try to provide a way to provide the money in an Israeli check to circumvent the cost of the transfer for you.
An initial $300 is due to the program to reserve your space, but the $700 balance, in full for the program must be received by July 1st, 2014. The link to pay these payments will be sent in the acceptance letter.
Because Masa and the Ministry of Education highly subsidize this program and provide monies based on those that complete the program, the Israel Experience pays ahead of time for many of the services. Therefore, on the first day of the program you will be asked to fill out a credit card authorization for the amount of a $300 as a housing/equipment deposit, as well as a credit card authorization allowing Israel Experience to charge an additional $1500 should you leave the program early for any reason. Unfortunately, if the program is not a match for your needs once you have arrived, we will not be able to refund the $1000 cost of the program.
4) Additional Documents
After being initially accepted to the program, you will be asked to submit the following supplementary documents:
– Proof of graduation
– Standards and Responsibilities form
More information regarding these documents will be sent to you after acceptance.
5) Registration Checklist
We realize that there is a lot of information in this information pack, so here is a checklist for you to make sure you are on the right track for the application process.
6) Program Contact
If you have questions about the program, please feel free to email Avivase@israelexperience.org.il or call 1-877-261-3442 / +972-3-762-8330
We look forward to speaking to you more about the program in the ITF interview.