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History, Hebrew and the future

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Israel is the new education hotspot for research and more

Gone are the days when a handful of countries were considered to be desirable study locations for higher education. Now, there are no geographical limits as students are considering countries other than first-world countries. Countries, too, are putting in efforts to make themselves student-friendly. One such upcoming study destination is Israel.

It is globally known as ‘The Start-Up Nation’ and ‘the Land of Innovation’. One of the main reasons for it is Israel’s advanced higher education system, highly regarded worldwide, with institutes rated among the top 200 universities today.

“All these universities are armed with the best teaching staff and resources which can help shape the future of their students. For foreign students, Israeli universities, and other higher education institutions offer a wide range of programmes and facilities, in even niche research areas, at a much more affordable cost, relative to equivalent institutions across the globe,” says Yaakov Finkelstein, Consul General of Israel.

With 1.4% of its current student population being international, Israel is slowly gaining consideration amongst Indian students who are looking at quality higher education and research.

Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) is one of the leading institutes in Israel that has been attracting young India researchers. Located in Rehovot, and spread over 200 acres of land, this institute is one of the world’s top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. It was founded in 1941 by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, has around 1,000 grants sponsoring the WIS’s research activity. At any given moment, approximately 1,200 research projects are carried out by its students and faculty who hail from different parts of the world.

WIS comprises almost 18 departments organised into five faculties: Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biology. In addition to this, there is the Feinberg Graduate School and the Davidson Institute of Science Education. Among its faculty are one Nobel Prize, seven Wolf Prize, three Turing Award, two Japan Prize and 33 Israel Prize winners.

To assure top-class quality graduates and to make sure that they leave the campus fully equipped with the best theoretical and practical knowledge of their field, the institute provides the best of equipment to its researchers.

Admission

The admission process for the WIS is straightforward. The institute offers master’s, doctorate and post-doctorate programmes in science, and the selection process is based on the practical and theoretical knowledge that the applicant possesses (which is tested by the respective faculty members), rather than a conventional merit-based system.

In order to be a part of the programmes, interested candidates need to draft a pitch of their work and contact the respective faculty. Following this, a video/voice interview along with an academic background check is conducted by the faculty. The selected candidates are automatically awarded a full scholarship.

Diversity

In order to attract international students and maintain diversity in the campus, the Institute’s official language is English. This not only helps the international students feel comfortable, but also helps the researchers and the Institute maintain a global image. Interestingly, WIS is one of the few institutes that has the highest number of Indian students, followed by Chinese and German students.

The few selected courses which are locally-based are taught in Hebrew but are translated aptly and simultaneously in English for non-Hebrew speakers.

The campus also comes together to celebrate festivals from different parts of the world. Be it Holi or Deepavali, the Indian community, with the help of the International Office (IO), hosts celebratory cultural evenings that are open to all.

The IO also helps the new-arrivals with sorting out their bank and accommodation processes to make the shift to a new country smooth. It also arranges Hebrew lessons for interested students which helps them in reading, writing and speaking basic Hebrew, making their stay easier.

Considering that many PhD and post-doctoral students come with their partners, the IO also extends support to their families, providing them a friendly lounge to meet and greet people from similar cultural backgrounds, and even supporting them during maternity periods for expectant mothers.

The writer was in Israel at the invitation of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 9:45:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/history-hebrew-and-the-future/article30541919.ece

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