A free trip to Israel sounds too good to be true. Fortunately, thanks to Birthright, you really can enjoy the opportunity to tour a beautiful and culturally-rich country with all expenses paid. After exploring just a few areas in Israel, you’ll definitely want to study abroad in Tel Aviv and will be making plans for a return trip. Here's what you need to know before going on Birthright:
1. It won’t matter if you are embarking on the trip alone or with a group of friends
You will become really close with the people on your trip and you might even make friendships that will last long after the trip's end. Even before you board the plane to Tel Aviv, you will be playing ice breaker games with others on your trip and will find yourself getting to know them. Before you know it, these trip companions will feel like family members as you will be sitting on a bus for hours on end with them and exploring the wonders of Israel side-by-side.
2. You will meet awesome Israeli Soldiers who are as excited about the trip as you are
There will be at least four to six soldiers who take a break from their time in the Israeli Defense Force to spend time and explore Israel alongside Americans. Take advantage of this experience and learn about their lifestyle in the army.
3. You will find amazing coffee everywhere
If you’re a coffee lover, you will hands down love Israel. Imagine ordering an iced coffee and being handed a spectacular coffee milkshake.
4. The food is better than you can imagine
For the ten days of your trip, falafel, French fries, pita, shakshuka, ice cream, aroma, and shawarma will be your best friends. The food markets are absolutely incredible. We recommend the fresh fruit juices, chocolate rugalach and gummy candies!
5. Expect great (but really hot) weather
If you plan on going on Birthright in May or June, Israel will be extremely hot. Pack as many pairs of athletic shorts and shirts as you possibly can, along with some cute outfits for the days where you will be exploring different cities. If you go on Birthright in the winter, you will need sweatshirts and workout leggings for the days you are hiking and jeans with a sweater or light long sleeve for the other days.
6. How to keep safe
Going to Israel can be a scary thought because of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To give you piece of mind, keep in mind that your trip leaders are in constant contact with the Birthright liaison in Israel keeping a close eye on itineraries. You will most likely never feel in danger and will be able to enjoy everything about Israel.
7. The Dead Sea is a must
In the days leading up to your visit to Israel, everyone will tell you not to shave before heading to the Dead Sea. Listen to them because it will definitely hurt if you shave immediately beforehand.
8. The trip can and will be emotional
You will be visiting places that might make you feel connected to your heritage in unimaginable ways. The Western Wall, Yad Veshem, and Mt. Herzl may bring tears to your eyes. Sharing these memories with the people around you is such a special experience, so embrace it!
9. You will be amazed
Israel is beautiful, full of life, happy and cultured. It is modern yet old-fashioned, and is certainly an awesome place to be.
10. You will want to come back for more
After the ten days of Birthright fly by, you will definitely want to plan another trip to Israel. Consider extending your trip or planning to study abroad in Israel for a semester or summer.