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ERIC Number: EJ891462
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Aug
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 44
ISSN: ISSN-1085-4568
North American Students in Israel: An Evaluation of a Study Abroad Experience
Donitsa-Schmidt, Smadar; Vadish, Maggie
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, v11 p33-56 Aug 2005
Every year, thousands of students worldwide leave home for the purpose of participating in an educational experience in a different country. Israel is one of the many destinations offering study abroad programs. Yet, being a Jewish country and a homeland for the Jewish Diaspora (Jewish communities outside Israel), Israel constitutes a unique study abroad case since it is typically Jewish students from all over the world who choose to take part in these programs. While, internationally, the popular incentives which drive students to study abroad include the desire to improve foreign language skills, to be introduced to new cultures, to receive international work experience and to develop independent skills, these are not the primary reasons why Jewish students choose to study in Israel. Rather, their main purpose for spending time in Israel is to strengthen their Jewish identity and become familiar with their own Jewish heritage. Studying Hebrew, one of Israel's official languages, is most often considered a secondary aim. Nonetheless, study abroad programs in Israel do include a language component, since it is assumed that learning Hebrew will help enhance students' Jewish awareness and identity. This research investigates changes in self-ascribed identity among study abroad students in Israel as a result of the time spent in the country, and examines the gains in their Hebrew language proficiency. Attitudes towards the host country and local culture are also explored for the purpose of better understanding the relationship between students' identity, Hebrew language proficiency and dispositions about Israel. Since North America has the largest Jewish community outside Israel, North American students (from the United States and Canada) make up the majority foreign population studying in Israel. The study concentrates specifically on North American students taking part in a study abroad program in Israel, seeking to understand how the study abroad experience in Israel influenced students' identities, attitudes and Hebrew language proficiency. (Contains 4 tables.)
Frontiers Journal. Dickinson College P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013. Tel: 717-254-8858; Fax: 717-245-1677; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada; Israel; United States