Testimonials from Kibbutz Program Participants

There is no better way I could ever imagine spending this past month in Israel than right here, on Kibbutz Naan. Being here was the perfect way to begin my year long journey in Israel…As I go on to spend the rest of the year in Israel, I am so thankful for this home that I have been invited into for the past month. I only hope that future ulpanists are able to hold Kibbutz Naan in a special place that I do now. Thank you for making my stay so special, Kibbutz Naan! I will be back to visit!

– Maya, California

As a participant in the Intensive Arabic Semester program, provided by Givat Haviva, I was given the opportunity to experience the time of my life. Not only did I learn to push myself academically to the highest levels possible, but also, due to the other participants and the teachers I was consistently provided with the incentive to fully comprehend and understand the Arabic language while using the very productive and fun methods that were implemented by the program. More recently, as a Masters student in Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, I continue to study this region of the world while simultaneously improving my language skills, initially taught by Givat Haviva. Through recurring trips to Israeli Arab villages and various places in the West Bank, I continue to utilize my skills in both the Arabic and Hebrew language, while furthering my education and understanding of Israel’s citizens and the conflict in which they live in on an everyday basis. I am very thankful for everything Givat Haviva has taught me, as I would not have been offered the position of “Intelligence Analyst” for The Levantine Group, without the skills I acquired through the Intensive Arabic Semester. In working with The Levantine Group, I have the opportunity to do what I love every day, that is, to apply my knowledge of the Middle East and my Arabic language skills in order to analyze the current events taking place in this region on a daily basis. I look forward to pursuing my career in this field in accordance to the very foundations Givat Haviva has instilled in our hearts: peace and equality for everyone.

– Alyson, Givat Haviva 2013

I was at Kibbutz Yagur from Dec 26, 2007 to June 2, 2008. Being in this program changed my life in so many ways. The great friends I made, improving my Hebrew but most importantly meeting the man that I will be marrying 100 days. The day I arrived at the kibbutz I was introduced to another participant, Justin. We have been together since that day. We would not have met if it was not for this program. Justin is from Tampa and had decide to take a semester off of school and I am from Chicago and had recently separated from the U.S. Air Force.

As we got to know each other while living on the kibbutz we knew we did not want to be apart and Justin moved to Chicago. He proposed a year ago and now our wedding is just over 3 months away. We can never express enough to people what a great program the kibbutz ulpan is and how wonderful Kibbutz Yagur is. It also helped us to find employment in the Chicago Jewish community.
I wanted to say that this was the greatest experience and this is a program that impacts the paricipants for their whole life. Many of our friends we met at the kibbutz will be at the wedding and the others in spirit. We both can’t wait to one day go back to Yagur, it is a wonderful place with wonderful people.

– Mara, Illinois

I want you to know how much I appreciated your help with Taylor’s [program]. He was just accepted into his choice college! Thanks to your support, you have made quite a difference in the life of a young man.

– Marla, California

So far the experience (volunteering) has been quite interesting. It started off very overwhelming. Life in a new country usually is. I have only been here for a month and I already notice a change in myself. I have never been among such a diverse group of people before. The majority of my friends come from a different country. Living in America all my life has only allowed me to see one point of view. Living in Israel is an eye opening experience.

– Craig, Illinois

I loved my time in Ulpan (Naan). The teachers were amazing! The kibbutz was beautiful, and I really felt “at home” after several weeks of being there. The rooms were fine, I actually really liked mine, and I was happily surprised that the bathroom/shower facilities were so nice.

– Heidi, Washington

Living on a kibbutz is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I never thought I’d be learning Hebrew with Ulpanists from all over the world along with working hand by hand with Israelis on the Kibbutz. Living on Kibbutz Tzuba has brought so many great memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks again. This program has really changed my life.

– Ryan, Vermont

The Kibbutz is like no other place in Israel . . . actually it is like no other place in the world! Becoming a part of the community was life changing. Long live the Kibbutz!

– Alex, Michigan

In the course of five months, I became fluent in a new language, and found a home, family and friends that I know I will have for the rest of my life.

– Rebecca, Ontario

My time in Israel thus far has been nothing short of amazing. . . My experiences working, studying Hebrew (I started knowing nothing and can now hold a conversation!) and learning about Israeli culture have been fantastic. The kibbutz is beautiful, and there are participants from 25 different countries, which is pretty amazing in and of itself. Our field trips to areas such as the Golan and Jaffo have been great as well. -Jessie, California
After graduating high school, I lived on kibbutz. I went with a group of people, some were old friends, others were soon to become friends. The time I spent in Israel and on kibbutz, I learned a lot about Israel, kibbutz, and myself. I learned Hebrew, worked hard, and learned many life skills. I left kibbutz, graduatied from college, married and had children. That experience changed my life, forever.

– Arlene, Wisconsin

When I spent five months studying and working on Kibbutz Yotvata, not only did I learn to read, write and speak Hebrew but I also had an unsurpassed quality of life. While living at Kibbutz Yotvata, located in the Arava valley, 26 miles from the resort-town of Eilat, I fell in love with the beauty of the landscape. Date palm trees were scattered throughout the land and the enchanting desert mountains changed color at sunrise and sunset. The people I lived with were just as colorful as my surroundings. One of the greatest benefits of the Ulpan program is that it attracts people from around the world. The experience living, learning and working with people from all over the world had a profound impact on me and has had a lasting effect on my career goals.

– Yosefa, NY

I volunteered on Kibbutz Mashabei Sade in the fall of 1995 and enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I milked cows; I harvested chickens; I helped build refrigerator parts side-by-side with Russian olim. When I wasn’t contributing to the Kibbutz “economy,” I was studying in the Kibbutz ulpan, getting beat in basketball by Kibbutzniks, and enjoying the simple, peace and quiet of the Negev while living among folks appreciative of a lending hand. While there, I learned a lot about Israeli history and politics. I experienced a sense of community that eluded me in the United States – and continues to elude me. And I learned a lot about myself and what is important in this world. It was a life-changing experience that I would do again if I could. I highly recommend it.

– Rob Jordan, NY

I am having a great time so far, I love the kibbutz I’m on and the other volunteers are great. I’m loving every second of it so far. Thank you so much for all of your help to get here. I’m so happy!

– Max, New York