The Aardvark Israel Program offers Jewish students from around the world the opportunity to “MAKE ISRAEL YOURS,” by providing a tailor-made program so participants can build a customised experience in Israel. The beauty of Aardvark, and what sets it apart from other programs is the opportunity to Intern. Participants choose from a long list of unique internship opportunities at impressive companies and organizations.
Participants also get to explore the hidden gems of Israel through weekly trips and excursions, study fascinating topics including Hebrew and enjoy independent living in furnished apartments in the centre of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. The experienced staff and high ratio of staff to students allow Aardvark to cater to the different interests of its student population, who come from a wide range of countries and backgrounds.
Special Interest Add-Ons:
When it came to choosing’s a gap year program, I really wanted an experience that I’ll never forget; one where I could fully immerse myself in Israeli culture, travel, be independent and make friends from abroad. Aardvark Israel fulfilled my criteria, and I can’t imagine spending 7 months doing anything else.
I interned at the Bauhaus Centre. The Bauhaus Centre is an architecture powerhouse which focuses on the redevelopment and preservation of Tel Aviv’s unique Bauhaus style buildings. I helped by organising audio guides, running to the post office and handling new shipments of stock. I also arranged the gallery that celebrated 100 years since the Bauhaus school opened in Germany, and other various galleries.
I also take Ulpan, Zionism and Psychology class’s. Tiyul Tuesdays are also a highlight of my experience, as I get to know the land of Israel and explore my Jewish identity. So far I have made unforgettable
memories, from partying in Tel Aviv to bonding with new people.
With Aardvark I have travelled to Ethiopia where we learnt about the Jewish community in Gondar. It was beautiful to see how alike my Jewish community in Melbourne was to the Jewish community in Gondar. Instead of their siddurs being translated from English to Hebrew it was translated from Amharic to Hebrew. This meant that with my basic Hebrew and their basic Hebrew we could communicate. The children where a delight and so beautiful. Just by visiting, we gave them hope that one day too they will make it to Israel, despite all the hardships they face with the Aliyah process.
After just visiting Italy with the
program, besides from the great shopping, we also visited the first Ghetto in Venice. We continued to Florence, Tuscany and Rome in our five-day adventure. In the coming weeks, I’ll also be going to Germany. Furthermore, I am excited to be travelling to America with the program in June where I will be working at an American Jewish Summer Camp, all thanks to Aardvark.
I’m currently on the Aardvark programme, based in Tel-Aviv around the Levinsky/ Florentine area, a modern, youthful area of Tel-Aviv. During the week I spend a few mornings volunteering at an under 18 LGBTQ+ shelter, where I help tidy, organise and help keep the day-to-day functioning of the place running smoothly. This includes going to the shuk to buy produce, re-planting the herb garden, cleaning and sometimes organising programes for the Jewish festivals.
After my volunteering I have classes, one of which is Uplan, where I learn Hebrew, and the other is introduction to psychology. Following these two classes, I often have free evenings where I can plan for myself what I wish to do, or I can sign up for activities organised by the program such as escape rooms, bowling, movies etc which are always heaps of fun. On Tuesdays, I have neither classes or volunteering, instead, the program takes all of us based in Tel-Aviv on tiyulim or ‘outings’ to places all over Israel such as eco-farms, Caesarea, Hebron, Masada and more.
This has provided the opportunity to see all over Israel without having to plan it myself, and to meet heaps of new amazing people. This, as well as the independence allowed on the program such as our independent living and free weekends, in conjunction with the amazing opportunities organised and provided to us on the program is what drew me to choose the program.
In my opinion, Aardvark is an amazing balance of independence and freedom as well as organised opportunities i wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere, providing me with a once in a lifetime experience.
For the 2019 Spring, I am on the Aardvark Israel program, where its slogan "Make Israel Yours" really stands true. I am currently living in Tel Aviv, in the beautiful area of Florentine, where I do an internship with an Israeli startup, attend ulpan classes and continue to explore the land and navigate my connection to Israel.
I also have the privilege of really living in Tel Aviv, improving my Hebrew, interacting with Israeli's and celebrating festivals such as Purim in Israel. This program also offers a unique add on, which I will be doing in the summer, which is the opportunity to lead as a counsellor on an American summer camp, which for an Australian and non-Americans is an incredible and once in a lifetime opportunity!
Since Aardvark is a global program, I've also had the opportunity to meet and form friendships with fellow Jews from all over the world including Americans, Brits, South Africans, and Canadians!
Aardvark immediately caught my eye (maybe because the name starts with AA meant it popped up first on the list of gap year programs!) due to all these unique and special features.