“I experienced the Jewish world through studies, travelling and meeting new people – all the while being independent and having time for my own interests.”
After high school, I wanted to go to Israel for a year, to experience the country, learn, volunteer and live with other Jewish young adults. Therefore I chose Shvilim, which includes all of these things. During the year I experienced the Jewish world through studies, travelling and meeting new people – all the while being independent and having time for my own interests.
I loved the variety of the program, with a balance of studying, hikes and travels, social activities and leisure time. I felt like I was independent and in charge of my own everyday life, but in a safe and stimulating environment, and I made friends for life.
I loved being in the historical and lively Jerusalem with Jews from abroad. In the beautiful and serene Golan Heights in a group of Israeli teenagers. In Oslo, living the student life while getting to know the other Scandinavians. And of course in New York, experiencing Jewish America and developing skills for fighting anti-semitism.
Personally, the most important thing I gained from Shvilim was getting to know Israel from the inside. Growing up, I always felt I “knew” Israel by going there with my parents to visit relatives, but in retrospect, it was always with a rental car and I never met new people. After Shvilim I feel more at home there, having Israeli friends, being able to converse in Hebrew and having seen and learnt about all kinds of places all over the country. It’s also a serious and academic gap year program that can give you opportunities later in life, and the skills I learnt for communication and leadership are useful in my everyday life.