Intensive  Arabic Semester
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The Program
What is I.A.S?
The intensive Arabic Semester is a 5 month long program at a leading educational institution in Israel for teaching Arabic. The program allots 500 hours to Arabic language acquisition and 75 hours for Hebrew lessons and courses in various topics relating to Middle Eastern and Arabic culture, touching on History, Politics, Culture and Religion.
The program's aim is to ensure a hands-on experience in addition to the theoretical studies. Therefore, an important component of the program is the active part our students take in the local community through social and community projects in neighboring Arab villages. This serves as a strong basis for strengthening the formal Arabic studies while exposing students to a foreign culture.
Additionally, the program includes guided excursions and hikes throughout Israel. 
How much does the program cost?
The total cost of the program is $11,900 (USD).

What is included in the program?
One main meal a day for the entire semester, insurance and guidance for the entire duration of the program, along with frequent trips throughout Israel. Besides airfare to and from Israel, the program includes all you need to learn, live and tour Israel for the entire duration of the period.

Where will I study?
You and your fellow classmates will study at the Barkai kibbutz, in a classroom within walking distance of your living arrangements. We have made sure that your surroundings compliment and encourage your Arabic studies – even in your recreational room you will find movies and magazines in English, Hebrew and Arabic.

What kind of Arabic will I learn?
The I.A.S program allots 500 hours to teaching Arabic. 80% of the studies are dedicated to Spoken Arabic so that by the end of the program you will have gained the knowledge and confidence to converse freely in Arabic in the community. The remaining hours are dedicated to literary Arabic in order to ensure that you receive a good basis in reading and grammar as well.
The dialect taught at I.A.S is the Palestinian dialect.
Who will be my Arabic instructors?
The I.A.S includes a distinguished faculty of educators that contribute to our contemporary approach to teaching. We have selected trained qualified academic professionals with experience in teaching Arabic – some of them are native Arabic speakers while others have resided for long periods of time in Arabic and English speaking environments. They are also chosen for their ability to relate well with the students and deliver the material in a fun, efficient and productive manner. You can rest assured that you will be matched with a professional, congenial and effective instructor.

Will my instructors speak English?
All of our instructors speak English, which can at times be beneficial, but this is certainly not necessary as it is better for you to spend the great majority of your time speaking and listening to the language you want to learn.

Do I have to buy my textbooks, or are they included?
You are required to purchase a Dictionary and text book, all other material is given. All purchases will be made as group once you’ll arrive. It is the best and cheapest way.

What kind of supplies will I need for the program?
You should bring one notebook with folders, pens and a lot of enthusiasm. If you are bringing your lap-top, voltage in Israel is 220V.

Can I get college or University credit for my classes at Givat-Haviva?
The most common way to get credit is by having us work directly with your home university or college.  If you put us in contact with your student advisor responsible for your study abroad we will be happy to provide a course syllabus, course descriptions, and course schedules to help them approve the classes.  Once you have begun the program, we will keep in touch with your home institution through attendance sheets, grades, and progress reports. Upon the course completion, an official transcript will be provided. 
For further assistance, you are invited to contact our Academic advisor at

How can I benefit the most from the semester?
The I.A.S is an intensive and rigorous program with 9 daily hours in class alone. We provide you with the material and academic support to give you the best chance of learning Arabic. A full course combined with the local interaction helps you learn faster and on a more significant level. However, it is mostly up to you how fast you learn and improve. Apply yourself, pay attention and try, keep your chin up and persevere if things get a little frustrating from time to time. Try to put yourself in situations where you will be forced to use the language – take some risks, be willing to sound like the foreigner who’s learning the language that you are, you will definitely learn faster. You should begin the program with a strong sense of commitment, ready for some hard work, open minded, wiling to experience and with a great ambition for learning.

Who will be my fellow classmates?
The program is open to all applicants regardless of previous knowledge in Arabic, religion, nationality, age, etc. However, in the past, most of our students were in their 20s, usually from the US and European countries.

Do I need previous knowledge of Arabic to enroll?
No previous knowledge of Arabic is necessary to participate in the I.A.S. We are very experienced with teaching “absolute beginners”. You may feel somewhat more disoriented than someone who has a basic knowledge of Arabic, but this will change quickly thanks to our course and instructors. If you can, before you leave, you may want to invest in a phrasebook, go on the internet and learn a few words for free, learn to count and say “where is the bathroom”, etc. The more effort you can put in on this front, the more comfortable you will feel, when you first arrive.

Where will I live?
You and your fellow classmates will have the privilege of enjoying a unique Israeli experience by living on a kibbutz for the duration of the program! The "Barkai" kibbutz will accommodate you in double rooms complete with air conditioning, a kitchen and wireless internet for easy access. The rural and relaxed surroundings of the kibbutz provide a comfortable setting for your studies while allowing you to get acquainted with the kibbutz lifestyle with its unique community and agricultural aspects.

How cold is the winter in Israel?
Temperatures at winter in Israel are around 40F – 50F and rainy.  

What will my living arrangements will be like and do I need to bring for my room?
Everything is provided; warm blankets, pillows etc. The only thing you need to bring is a clean set of sheets.

How will I get from the airport to Kibbutz Barkai?
First of all, let us know when does flight lend and we’ll guide you on the best way to arrive. The fastest way to arrive to the Kibbutz is to take a train from the airport to Binyamina, from there you will need to take a taxi (50 NIS) or if it is possible, we will come and pick you up

Volunteer work
Where will I volunteer?
We believe that true language acquisition should be achieved actively by immersing yourself in the local culture and not just passively by sitting in classrooms. Therefore, you will receive hands-on experience in the local Arab community by regularly taking part in social and community projects in a village called "Arara" in the Vadi Ara region. Arara is an Israeli-Arab village that accommodates our students from Givat Haviva and does so willingly and with the highest standards of welcome and hospitality.
At Arara, you will take part in the daily life by volunteering in local schools and working with children on English and school related projects. You will even have a host Arabic family that will accommodate you, allowing you to forge close, personal ties within the Arab community and get a chance to experience life in the village first hand. This experience of immersion will serve as a basis for strengthening your formal Arabic studies while allowing you to explore a foreign culture.

Can you tell me more about my host family at Arara?
As part of your immersion, language acquisition and cultural experience in the Arab community, each student receives an assigned "foster" family at Arara. You will spend three weekends at the home of your foster family throughout the semester. Of course, should you and your foster family be willing, you may spend additional weekends there. In the past, our students bonded and forged close ties with their families and kept in touch long after they completed the program and returned home.

How do I sign up?
Registration for the Intensive Arabic Semester can be done through our website. A representative will get back to you within 24 hours with additional information and answer any questions you might have. Once you've decided to sign up, we'll conduct a phone interview to determine that you are suited for the program.

When should I sign up?
Our next semester begins July 15, 2010. It is important that once you decide to enroll in I.A.S, you should sign up as soon as possible to ensure your place.

Would I need a Visa?
Your tourist visa is for 3 months long and our school will take care of the extension of it. We may also send you a letter declaring that you are students of Givat-Haviva. By showing this letter in the Israeli consulate you will be able to get a student visa.

Should I insure my flight ticket?
It is recommended to get insurance for your flight ticket, just in case you won't be able to come and participate.