Why Israel should top the list for Asian students
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Why Israel should top the list for Asian students

Six reasons why Israel should top the list of study locations for Asian students

Where can you get a master’s degree at a top university for less money and where the sun shines for most of the year? Clue: it’s not in North America, Europe or Australia.

TLV12_city-view  Israel, the tiny nation in the eastern Mediterranean – home to voicemail, instant messaging technology and the Pentium M microprocessor – is rapidly becoming the hottest new alternative study destination for Asian students seeking a first class education, fantastic networking opportunities, rich cultural experiences, and access to one of the world’s most dynamic and innovative business hubs.

Here are six reasons why Israel should top your list of study options.

1. Starting out in the Start Up Nation
While Israel has traditionally been the haunt of archaeology, political science and religious studies students, Israel’s growing reputation as a world center for innovation, technology and entrepreneurship make the country an ideal place for science, technology and business students to study the unique factors that contribute to this Start Up Nation.

For those of you with an entrepreneurial spirit, take note. Regularly referred to as the Silicon Valley of the eastern Mediterranean, Israel has more companies on the tech-oriented NASDAQ stock exchange than any country outside the U.S. – more than all of Europe, India, and China combined, say Start Up Nation co-authors, Saul Singer and Dan Senor – and is turning out some of the world’s most exciting ideas and innovative technologies today.
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2. Caffeinating your way to success
tlv9_girl-in-restaurant  People in Israel love to offer their advice and proffer their opinions. And the lack of hierarchy in this country of just 7 million people makes Israel one of the easiest places to network with and gain access to leading figures across all sectors of society.

Israel can be defined as a small pond with lots of big fish. At some point all the world’s leaders in business, government and academia make a pilgrimage. English is widely spoken in Israel, and for overseas students who are looking to gain a strong foothold in another culture and the high-level contacts to match, this is a great place to start.

In a country where people are always willing to meet strangers for a cappuccino – or what the locals call hafuch – most people you want to reach are no more than 2 degrees of separation away, and help is always at hand.

3. Top universities and leading research
Israeli universities regularly rank among the world’s top academic institutions, including in the Shanghai Jiaotong University Ranking, and their research is cutting edge. Israel leads the world in medical device patents, produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation in the world, and is a major global player in the development of cleantech, biotech and agritech technologies.

4. Value for money, increasing options
Ilana-and-Alexis-cropped-v2  Factor in that the tuition fees at Israeli universities are a fraction of those of their North American, European and Australian counterparts, and this makes Israel a more cost-effective study option.

The choice of English-language programs for international students in Israel is also expanding – ranging from just a few weeks to international master’s programs. While Middle Eastern studies, political science, archaeology and Jewish studies remain core subject offerings at most Israeli universities, students now also have a much wider array of options available to them, including MBA programs, environmental science, agricultural science, conflict resolution, public health, security and diplomacy, migration studies and engineering.

5. Unique leadership opportunities for Asian students
Relations between Israel and Asia are still developing and relatively early stage compared to countries in the West. However, this also means that there are plenty of opportunities to carve out a niche in your field and develop strong bonds.

As Israel-Asia ties continue to grow, Jerusalem-based non-profit organization, the Israel-Asia Center, has introduced a new program for the top Asian students studying in the country. One student from Tel Aviv University’s Sofaer International MBA was selected to participate this year. The Israel-Asia Leaders Fellowship aims at building the next generation of leaders in Israel-Asia relations, providing a select group of Asian students studying at universities in Israel with the high-level access, contacts, support network and skill-set necessary to build long-term, strategic partnerships with Israel through their future careers.

Fellowship activities include seminars at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Israel Export Institute, workshops in leadership skills, creative and innovative thinking and strategy for start-ups led by the country’s top businesspeople, and field trips that provide insights into Israeli history, culture, innovation and technology.

Fellows also receive professional mentors in their field of interest, host-families, assistance in developing projects or ventures in their field that promote Israel-Asia relations, and ongoing professional and networking support and follow-up once they return to Asia.

6. And don’t forget….
Home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, Israel is also packed full of ancient relics, holy sites and natural wonders.

But if all these incentives aren’t enough to entice you…well, there’s always the sun, sand and famous Israeli food!

Rebecca Zeffert
Founder & Executive Director, Israel-Asia Center

Rebecca Zeffert is Founder and Executive Director of the Israel-Asia Center, an organisation that is dedicated to promoting understanding and furthering cooperation between Israel and Asia.  This fall, the IAC is launching the Israel -Asian Leaders Fellowship that provides Asian students studying in Israel high-level access, contacts, skill-set and support network necessary to build long-term, strategic partnerships with Israel through their professional careers on return to their home countries. One Sofaer student was accepted to participate in IAC’s fellowship for the 2011/12 academic year (learn more).