Year Course is a 9-month gap year program in Israel where students can earn up to 30 college credits and participate in meaningful volunteer opportunities .
Year Course is a 9-month gap year program in Israel where students get the chance to earn up to 30 college credits, enhance their language skills, gain meaningful and unique volunteer opportunities and deepen their curiosity of where and how they want to engage in the world around them. The students that go on Year Course gain a great sense of independence and mature in ways that enable them to truly thrive in college, both socially and academically.
For half of the year, our students’ live on our Jerusalem campus taking 5-6 courses of their choice, including Hebrew language classes, and go on weekly trips out of the classroom. The other half of the year, you will spend you days volunteering in local communities, undergoing basic-army training or working alongside the Israeli ambulance corps. As a student on Year Course, you will live in fully furnished apartments, learning how to cook and clean, manage a food stipend among other and balance responsibilities like laundry, homework and program participation with the amazing memories that come with exploring the countries and making life-long friends during your free-time.
Throughout the year, students have the ability to travel to Morocco, Greece, Rwanda and Poland. There are also Specialty tracks that offer weekly outings into a particular field such as Business, Medicine, Art and Sports.
Year Course is Israel’s very first Gap Year program having celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2016.
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Aside from it being a spectacular program that changed my daughter’s life and better prepared her for college, the fact that she received a full year’s worth of credit meant that it actually saved us money!
As a family we felt in safe hands. Young Judaea did a great job of keeping our kids secure and keeping us well informed throughout the year.
Spending a year in Israel is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. You’re giving them a boost of self confidence that will serve them for the rest of their life.Yosef Abramovitz, YC 1983-84
The richness of this year helped me figure out who I am as a person and the people I want to surround myself with for the rest of my life.
Looking back, these past nine months have brought out aspects of my personality that I didn’t even know existed.
Living independently and immersing myself in a different culture was the highlight of my year.
Due to my experiences on Year Course I had a much easier time adjusting when I was in college.” Jacqueline Gold,
My volunteering experience on Year Course gave me a better understanding of what to study at college. I joined a paramedic team and I’m going to study Medicine.
Do the things you believe in. Because what we believe in makes up who we are. We often underestimate the extent to which the choices we make today affect us tomorrow. We don’t immediately realize how the people we meet and friends we make inspire and teach us. Conversations I have had this year, both inside the classroom and even more so outside it, have impacted my worldview. They have strengthened some of my beliefs and challenged others. That is one thing that Year Course, that choosing Year Course, did for me. We know we’re growing but we usually can’t notice a difference until we have to look back in order to move forward. Picture yourself nine months ago and remember the fears you may have had about this year. Now, think about where you are at this moment. Do the fears you once had feel small? Do they feel far away? I can remember counting down the number of sleeps I had left in my room every night. I remember feeling like once I packed up and hit the road things would never be the same. Fast forward to now: I have learned that the feelings I had those nights weren’t so far off from the truth. One of the most difficult things that I have been fortunate to learn can be summed up by this quote ‘you will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.’ Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself counting the nights left here in Israel just as I had done nine months ago in New York. Fear is something inevitable within ourselves but sometimes the ideas and actions that scare us the most can lead us to our greatest accomplishments. When I signed up for Year Course I didn’t know anyone else that was coming on the program. I was a little worried about that but decided to make it a fun adventure. It didn’t take much time to notice that many people already knew each other from Young Judaea. Introducing myself to a group of people who already know each other wasn’t so easy. It felt awkward but everyone tried their best to say hi and meet everyone else. About a month later, the dynamic of the group was changing. We were moving from strangers, to friends, to family. I think most of us would agree that the first impressions we had of each other began to fade away. The friend who had described themselves as shy was transforming into a social butterfly and the person who originally didn’t know where they stood on so many issues started screaming their ideas and opinions. So many of us have jumped out of our comfort levels, whether it be to help a friend or help ourselves, we have done it. 9 months ago I didn’t know who would bike the Kineret, who would hike the country, who would travel the world, who would challenge my opinions and who would agree with them, who would be lazy and who would be crazy, who would stop me from making mistakes and who would be my partners in crime when, inevitably, we all made mistakes. I didn’t know who I would be to each of you, or who you would be to me. And now I gladly pay the price for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place. I started by saying do the things you believe in, because when you believe in what you do you believe in yourself. You believe that even alone you can create, give, help and succeed. We are all, thank god, alive and capable of imaginable and unimaginable things. We are the only people who control our capabilities. If each of us can reflect on this year and say that we sucked the juice out of the fruit entirely, kol hakavod, don’t stop. Take Year Course with you as a reminder wherever you go that you not only tried, you succeeded. For those of us who may feel like we didn’t get as much as we could have, start taking and giving and doing more. It is not too late to take the lessons of Year Course forward, to take matters into our own hands, to create meaning, to try something different and new, to repair the world, on whatever scale we can manage. Take the recipes, the crazy stories, the almost accidents and new friendships with you wherever you go. Year Course, for me, has been a year to figure out what I believe in and I’m sure this pursuit will follow me into my next chapter in life. Part of me hopes that this pursuit follows you too because life isn’t black and white and only we can decide how to color the pages.
In the interview for my current job, the life experience I gained on Year Course was one of my biggest selling points.