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CWRU unveils study abroad in Israel

Sage Schaff

Issue date: 10/8/10 Section: News
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Thanks to a recent partnership with Masa Israel Journey, a group dedicated to helping college students study and volunteer in Israel, Case Western Reserve University will be offering study-abroad programs in Israel for the first time. CWRU will begin sending students to Hebrew University in Jerusalem during the 2011-12 academic year. Jill Korbin, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said that most programs will likely be semester-long, but Masa will be flexible.

A report by the Institute of International Education (IIE) currently ranks Israel 22nd out of the top 25 study abroad destinations for American students. Korbin attributes the low ranking to fears regarding travel in the Middle East. She also added, "The breadth of study in Israel is severely underestimated." It is Masa's goal to propel Israel higher in those rankings.

CWRU and seven other schools, including fellow UAA member Washington University in St. Louis, can possibly help Israel become a more popular study abroad destination. According to Masa, the organization worked closely with the IIE to select the eight institutions that will receive a total of $400,000 in seed grants to develop their joint programs with several Israeli universities. In addition to these grants, CWRU's endowment money will assist students with travel costs.

Masa describes one of its goals as making Israel one of the hubs for international education. One of the main factors in selecting Hebrew University was its location in Jerusalem, which is already a hub of religion and politics because of its rich history. Ethan Chaleff, a junior at CWRU who studied in Israel for four months during high school, can attest to the transformative experience that learning in Jerusalem offers.

"We talked to settlers who had been displaced from Gaza and were given a cursory moment to hear about the plight of [one Palestinian refugee]," Chaleff said. "The political situation is thoroughly ingrained into the culture", providing the international students with a short but meaningful look at the effects of such a complex, interconnected political and religious history.
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