Too many academic institutions over the past 900 years needed reminding by the rectors gathering in Bologna in 1988 that universities were created for students. Established six years later, IDC Herzliya was not going to make that mistake. At IDC, supporting and nurturing students is the first priority of all university employees – whether academic or administrative. There is no faculty club – faculty, staff and students dine together – and in particularly stark contrast to other organizations (not only academic), there isnt even special parking for senior university personnel.
But make no mistake – behind this interdisciplinary democratic portico lies one of the countrys most serious academic establishments. With faculty members who hail from Ivy League campuses and graduate students who are sought after by those same institutions – and by the worlds finest global corporations – IDC has been making its mark worldwide. Graduates continue towards doctorate and masters degrees at the most prestigious universities in the U.K., the U.S., France and elsewhere, and are employed by such companies as Amdocs, Checkpoint, Elbit, GE, IBM, ICA Telecom and Microsoft. They are also sought after by banks, investment funds and start-ups, as well as government ministries and institutions.
Multi-discipline is a function of multi-culturalism
With 1,500 students from over 84 different countries, IDC is certainly Israels most international university. The institution even has special bureaucracy busters to help students get through red tape mazes, wherever they still exist. But multi-culturalism is not merely having students from different places; it is also bringing together people who would otherwise never have met. IDCs Israel at Heart Program boasts one of the highest per capita number of Ethiopian students in the country; and IDC has a higher percentage of former IDF officers and elite unit reservists than any other university in Israel.
Thanks to a wide range of scholarships – from Masa, the Ministry of Absorption, the Jewish Agency, Jewish Federations, NGOs, FAFSA loans, the IDCs own scholarship foundation and governmental assistance – IDCs relatively high tuition fees are never an obstacle to students from socio-economic sectors that might otherwise have to forego a top-quality university education.
When founder and current president Uriel Reichman formulated IDCs Mission Statement, he based it on the Zionist ideal of contributing to the State of Israel and the Jewish People. No mere idealistic dreamer, Reichman realized from the start that excellence cannot be created in a vacuum. The greatest motivation to succeed cannot be limited to inward-looking individualism, but must also be based in a consciousness of the world around – its needs and its rich offerings, he believes.
For this reason Reichman coined the phrase Liberty and Responsibility, which is an integral part of the IDC Herzliya Mission Statement. On one hand, this means that IDC boasts dozens of volunteer social service programs, which continuously make inroads into the social environment. Run by students and faculties together, these programs serve to remind everyone of their accountability towards those who need their help, generosity and assistance. On the other hand, social involvement also serves to emphasize the concept of Liberty and Responsibility by teaching students to cherish freedoms, liberalism, democracy and the free enterprise spirit that will become a primary component in their future success.
Curriculum for success
Studies at IDC Herzliya focus on providing students with all the tools required to thrive in todays swiftly changing business environment. Whether its an MBA, a degree in Organizational Behavior or any one of the other varied offerings, the curriculum always combines a unique blend of academic material and practical experience. Adjacent to the heartland of Israels hi-tech industrial zone, students can study and work with the very individuals who put the Miracle Start-Up Nation on the global map. Entrepreneurs and researchers offer courses and work-study programs; and the school encourages students to initiate, innovate, invent and create. As a result, they enter the workforce with both a very valuable degree and the experience necessary to hit the ground running. An open-door policy enables students and faculty to work together; IDF reservists returning from army duty receive support; and counseling and assistance ensures that students can devote their entire attention to the task at hand.
Campus life includes a wealth of extracurricular activities, sports and an atmosphere not unlike that found at the best private universities in the United States and around the world. On the one hand, there are debate clubs, the AEPI fraternity, the Ambassadors Club, entrepreneurial clubs, film clubs, campus radio and parties, and on the other hand students can join the Mincha club, Shabbatonim, Hillel, Friday night dinners and the weekly Shiur.
A gateway to home
If melting pots were meant to provide the flavor and nutrition of the world at large, IDC certainly fulfills the promise. The opportunity to study, network and befriend for life like-minded individuals from all corners of the earth provides a healthy basis for future success. Conversely, IDC is also providing an excellent education to students who wish to spend time in a country as unique and exemplary as Israel.
While here, they receive an excellent education and enjoy the communal life, the cultural activities, the trips and the campus life that IDC offers. But they also have the opportunity to weigh the assets and liabilities of living here – a decision that can best be taken over a period of time and in full communion with the land and its people. Indeed, after graduation, a full 70 percent of IDCs foreign students make Israel their home. A considerable number later join the IDF, taking the degrees and experience they acquired at IDC Herzliya and putting them to good use while serving their new country. The others – perhaps assisted by IDCs unique StandWithUs advocacy training plan – become superb ambassadors when they return to their communities abroad.
All of them – Israelis new and old, and foreign students alike – will remember their juncture at IDC Herzliya as a cherished experience that helped them succeed in living their potential to the fullest.
Ella Drory, 24, France
I am half French and half Israeli, and grew up in a few different countries. After a gap semester in Israel, I realized that I didnt want to leave. A friend of mine mentioned IDC and the RRIS, so I checked the website and it seemed as if the Government program had been designed for me. I went to visit the campus and I was sold! Next thing I know, I was calling my parents to tell them that I am not coming home. I loved the fact that there are so many extracurricular activities and I cant say Im disappointed! More than that, the school encourages you in your own initiatives, which I took advantage of by creating a Women in Leadership club. It all came together when I was accepted to the Argov Fellows Program in Leadership and Diplomacy, where every class is an opportunity to learn, think, create and question the world that surrounds us. What makes the RRIS and IDC so special is the people. Each individual comes with their own story and blends it together to build a school where everyone can belong.
Jesse Lazarus, 20, Cape Town, South Africa
I am currently in my second year at IDCs Raphael Recanati International School studying for a degree in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy. After enrolling in a local South African university for a semester, I decided that I was not satisfied with my college experience. For me, IDC provides both an incredible social and academic college experience. The presence of students from around 80 different countries creates a cultural melting pot on and off campus which is hard to find anywhere else in the world. This diverse international presence makes studying Government extremely rewarding, on top of the fact that you are in Israel, a global political hotspot. Studying at IDC has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.
Rafael Tihanyi Feldman, 20, Caracas, Venezuela
I studied all my life in the Jewish communitys school in Caracas, and during that time I became a madrich (counselor) in the Zionist youth movement Macabbi Tzair. My experiences as a madrich were what lead me to come to Israel in the summer of 2011 for Masas Shnat Hachshara program. Im studying Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at IDC. I was always interested in government and politics in general, and I applied to multiple schools in the US and to IDC. After being accepted to several schools, I had to choose, and what made the difference for me was the location. For me it was really important to spend a few years of my life in a fully Jewish environment, something that I could only have at IDC. So far Ive had a truly enriching experience here, and getting to know people from so many different places is probably what I most enjoy about IDC.
Camila Seta, 20, Los Angeles, California, USA
I came to Israel straight after high school graduation, and began studying in the fall of 2011 at IDCs Sammy Ofer School of Communications. Going abroad was the best decision I could have ever made for myself, and choosing IDC to be my new home throughout my college career has only enhanced my experience to a higher level. Were young, us college students. The decisions we make at this age seem to mold us to developing into the adult were going to become. Living in Israel and studying at IDC has made me really grow up, live on my own. I will be eternally grateful to IDC for teaching me to embrace multi-culturalism and immerse myself in it. I have friends from almost every continent – that gift is immeasurable. With the culmination of my undergraduate degree coming up this coming spring, I can honestly say that IDC prepared me for the real world. The real world doesnt just mean landing a job, it means being a good person, it means being an adult, it means living.
Jonathan Davis is the Head of RRIS and VP for External RelationsFor more information about the IDC Herzliya, visit www.idc.ac.il.