Exploring Israeli Culture, Society, and Minorities


Image of Haifa, Israel
The Israel Studies’ new summer program in Haifa Israel is an 8 week, 6 credit program that combines classroom learning, excursions and an internship in the field.
Location: Haifa, Israel
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Academic Disciplines: Jewish Studies
Program Type: Faculty-led

  • Service learning: 3.5 days a week will be dedicated to service work with organizations and programs in Haifa. Workdays will be from Sunday to Wednesday. Students will work 7-8 hours per day as an intern (about 24 hours per week, and total of about 180 hours over 8 weeks). For that, students may receive 3 credit hours upon completion of the internship and the written assignment.
  •  Learning & Travel:  The program will include travel opportunities throughout Israel which enable participants to explore Israel through the lens of social change and activism and meet firsthand with minority communities around the country. Thursday will be the travel day and one additional afternoon will be dedicated to the academic course.
  • Immersion:  The students will live, work and learn in the city of Haifa and have the opportunity to connect with local residents

The majority of the program will take place in the beautiful and historic Haifa, Israel. Haifa is the third largest city in Israel behind Tel Aviv and Jerusalm and originated 3,000 years ago. It is a northern Israeli port city built in tiers extending from the Mediterranean up the north slope of Mount Carmel. The city’s most iconic sites are the immaculately landscaped terraces of the Bahá'í Gardens and, at their heart, the gold-domed Shrine of the Báb.Students will also explore outside of the city of Haifa.  Included excursions throughout Iarael include: 

The dates of the program are June 3rd-July 28th 2020.

During this study abroad program in Haifa, Israel, students will gain knowledge and hands-on experience working in an international setting. Students will take part in an academic course that is taught on-site- in a classroom and in the field. They will also take part in a service-learning internship in organizations working with some of the minority populations they will be learning about. Students will be placed in a variety of different NGOs in the city of Haifa working with Ethiopian Israelis, Arab Israelis, recent and veteran immigrants, Asylum seekers currently residing in Haifa and others. These are service-learning internships and thus will combine office work with direct service opportunities with children and other community members.

JWSH 422 (3 KU credit hours):

The academic course examines Israeli society and politics, with a focus on Israel’s minorities. We will learn about the Israeli Arabs- Muslims, Christians, and Druze-, Russian Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Mizrahi, Haredi, asylum seekers, women and gender issues, and more. The multicultural city of Haifa will act as a case study. There we will get direct connection to these social groups, learn about their problems, and write a policy paper on integration of minorities. This is a 3-hour academic credit course at the 400-level; however, graduates are highly encouraged to participate with addition of assignments.

JWSH 650 (3 KU credit hours):

KU students will be placed in a variety of different organizations in the city of Haifa working with different populations in Haifa such as Arab Israeli residents, Ethiopian Israeli recent and veteran immigrants, Asylum seekers currently residing in Haifa and others. The placements will include service-learning internships in the social sector as well as opportunities to work in the public sector and in local innovation and entrepreneurship. Internship tasks may include:

  • Curriculum Development in English
  • Evaluation – assistance in ongoing data collection and analysis
  • Resource development – including grant-writing, donor research, foundational research, assistance with fundraising campaigns etc.
  • Media and marketing – creating website content, building websites, maintaining social media platforms, creating marketing materials in English and more.
  • Assistance with program and event planning
  • Assistance with local projects – second hand-store, projects with the elderly
  • Community based research - community mapping
  • Secondary research – research on methodologies from around the world that may apply to local work
  • Direct English activities with children and youth
  • Outdoor activities with children and youth

Students will be housed in apartments (with fully equipped kitchens) in close proximity to major sites in Haifa.

Along with the planned itinerary and site visits, students will also have two free days to explore sites of their interest that can include Masada, the Dead Sea, and Ein Geidi to name a few. 

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

The program is open to all KU students (and also non-KU students) both undergraduates and graduates. Summer Study Abroad in Israel may be of particular interest to those studying politics, history, international relations, sociology, anthropology, religion, Middle-Eastern studies, Islamic studies, Arabic, and Hebrew.

Program Faculty:

Dr. Rami Zeedan is a political scientist and historian of modern Israel. Born in Daliat al-Carmel, he holds a PhD (2013) in Israel Studies from the University of Haifa, in cooperation with the Political Science Department there. His research looks at the history of modern Israel, Israeli politics, Middle-Eastern politics, ethnic politics, urban affairs and local governments, and public opinion.