January 19, 2020

Masa Israel broadens study-abroad options

Many college students have romantic notions of studying abroad in places like Italy or France, but Aaron White found himself at Tel Aviv University thanks to Masa Israel Journey, a program that connects young Jewish adults with study-abroad, internship and volunteer opportunities in Israel.   

“I got to see how another culture lives and witness firsthand the complicated and sometimes quixotic attempts at politics that define Israel and its neighbors,” said White, who grew up near Palm Springs and now works for a think tank in Oakland. 

These days, though, students are flocking to the Holy Land out of more than an interest in the central role it has played in Jewish culture, history and current events. Yonatan Barkan, director of academic affairs for Masa Israel Journey, sees the nation’s rise as a global hotbed for technological, medical and scientific innovation as being the next draw for young adults ages 18-30. “Israel today is a crossroads of professional, academic and personal opportunities,” he said. “Israel [has much to offer] undergraduate students, grad students and young professionals who want to leverage its business culture and booming tech scene in order to get experience they can’t get anywhere else.”

Within the past year, Masa Israel (