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Israel Is New Option for International Study

Travel policy change results in three programs beginning January 2013

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October 29, 2012 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Beginning January 2013, Northwestern University undergraduate students will be able to study abroad in Israel at three universities -- Ben Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University. Interested students are welcome to attend the annual Study Abroad Fair at Norris University Center Wednesday, Nov. 7, from 2 to 5 p.m., for more information.

The new study abroad opportunities in Israel -- a country that for years has been subject to a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning -- are the result of a change in Northwestern’s travel policy that now allows administrative and academic units to request permission to affiliate with educational institutions in countries under such warnings.

The Office of International Program Development and Study Abroad Office requested review of the Israeli programs. After the Undergraduate Study Abroad Committee approved the three programs, the Study Abroad Risk Assessment conducted a thorough health and safety review and submitted their findings to the Provost, who made the final decision.

Northwestern President Morton Schapiro and Provost Dan Linzer traveled to Israel last year and met with Israeli university and government officials to discuss opportunities for building and expanding ties and partnerships there.

“Given the Middle East’s extraordinary geo-political and cultural importance, we welcome the study opportunities that the University’s new travel policy is opening for our undergraduates,” said Bill Anthony, director of the Study Abroad Office. The three programs, described below, will be offered throughout the academic year in the fall quarter, winter/spring quarters or full academic year.

• The Tel Aviv University undergraduate exchange program allows undergraduates to take classes in English or Hebrew in a broad range of fields, including computer science, electrical engineering, psychology, economics, political science, public policy, conflict resolution, Jewish and Hebrew studies and Arabic and Islamic studies. According to Office of International Program Development (IPD) director Dévora Grynspan, IPD plans to add more specialized study opportunities, such as a Public Health in Israel program. While the undergraduate affiliation is new, Northwestern has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with Tel Aviv University, including graduate student exchanges and joint programs with both Northwestern Law School and the Kellogg School of Management, said Grynspan, who is also assistant to the president on global initiatives.

Rothberg International School at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem offers an undergraduate study abroad program of courses taught in English, with intensive Hebrew language study. In addition to a wide range of courses in religious, Israel and Middle Eastern studies, the Rothberg International School offers special study tracks and programs in business, psychology, environmental studies, literary and colloquial Arabic, dance and music. Undergraduates also can conduct an independent study project under expert supervision or work in a partner organization as part of a supervised internship. Those with sufficient command of Hebrew can enroll in courses offered in various Hebrew University departments and study with Israeli students.

The Overseas Student Program at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev allows undergraduates to study Hebrew language as well as courses taught in English in Jewish and Israel studies, political science, history, anthropology, Arabic, arts and literature, global health, and ecology. To complement academic studies, students are strongly encouraged to also participate in volunteer service, research, internships, and/or service learning. Students with an adequate knowledge of Hebrew are welcome to enroll in any undergraduate class offered in Hebrew. Other study opportunities include tracks in global health, sustainable development and Israel studies, enrollment in courses from the Desert Studies and Middle East studies master’s degree programs and certificate programs in sustainable development and environmental justice, global health, anthropology and sociology of the Middle East, and Jewish and Israel studies.

For information on eligibility and course offerings, visit the Study Abroad Office and International Program Development websites at www.northwestern.edu/studyabroad and www.ipd.northwestern.edu, respectively. Interested students also are encouraged to attend the Nov. 7 Study Abroad Fair at Norris University Center.