IDC Herzliya |

International University Turns Challenges into Opportunities

This year, demand for full-degree programs at the Raphael Recanati International School (RRIS) at IDC Herzliya is even higher than usual – as parents around the world trust the school to take good care of their children while providing an excellent education

Rebecca Kopans, Promoted Content
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RRIS students preparing Kabbalat Shabbat care package contributions from the RRIS Jewish Enrichment program funds
RRIS students preparing Kabbalat Shabbat care package contributions from the RRIS Jewish Enrichment program fundsCredit: IDC, Algom Ben Horin
Rebecca Kopans, Promoted Content
Promoted Content

Over the years, RRIS has established itself as the premier choice for young people interested in studying in English in Israel. But the fact that registration has shot up by over 20% for the upcoming academic year, despite the still ongoing Covid-19 crisis, is truly remarkable. “The challenges presented by the coronavirus have actually created new opportunities,” asserts Jonathan Davis, Head of RRIS and VP of IDC Herzliya for External Relations, adding that he has been pleasantly surprised by the surge in both overall interest and actual registration. 

Although Israel’s borders are still officially closed to foreigners, RRIS has obtained special entry permits that enable its foreign students to come to Israel and enjoy the unique atmosphere at IDC. A hybrid learning experience will be offered next semester, in compliance with official health guidelines, with most classes taking place online. However, students are still able to enjoy a full college experience as part of the RRIS community of approximately 2,000 students from 90 countries. This experience is especially pronounced for those who choose to live in IDC’s new state-of-the-art dorms.

Tender Loving Care

“During the height of the pandemic, we successfully helped 250 of our students return to Israel when they were stuck overseas while visiting their home countries between semesters,” Davis notes proudly. “We were able to get approval of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior, and they trusted us that the returning students would quarantine for two weeks. It was difficult organizing visas and flights. When they arrived, we supervised their quarantine and provided plenty of TLC [tender loving care], including delivering Shabbat dinners, conducting Zoom Kabbalat Shabbats and having personal counselors call them several times a day to make sure they were okay.”

RRIS students and alumni can attest to the fact that the school provides TLC throughout their studies, and not just during pandemics. “I take my hat off to my team; they take care of all of our students’ needs 24/7. I too have personally been in touch with hundreds of parents, reassuring them and providing information,” says Davis. Since most students are far from their families and lack a local support network, RRIS is committed to ensuring their wellbeing and to helping them with every aspect of their lives in Israel.

Jonathan Davis,Vice President External Relations,Head of the Raphael Recanati International SchoolCredit: IDC, Algom Ben Horin

Safe and welcoming

Many of this year’s 800 new students decided to study in English in Israel after taking part in an Israel experience program such as Birthright or one of the long-term Masa initiatives. In fact, every year several dozen young people who come to Israel on post-high school Gap Year programs decide to stay in Israel and study at IDC.

Others choose IDC rather than attending a university in their home country because of a desire to be in a predominantly Jewish environment. In many parts of the world, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiments have become particularly virulent these days; the BDS movement is thriving on many campuses, with Jewish students often feeling vulnerable. IDC Herzliya provides safe and welcoming surroundings, which is an important advantage for prospective students and their parents.

Another reason so many people are enthusiastic about studying at IDC Herzliya is that its tuition is much more equitable than that of many colleges and universities around the world, especially in the U.S. Students can obtain a prestigious, first-class education without having to pay back student loans for the rest of their lives. Since most top American colleges are resorting to remote learning next year, there is a growing reluctance to pay exorbitant tuition fees.

IDC Herzliya is also a preferred option for discharged lone soldiers and they usually constitute around 15% of the RRIS student body. Every year, several thousand lone soldiers – young people from around the world who do not have families in Israel – complete their army service. Many choose to remain in the country and to pursue academic studies in Israel. For most, Hebrew is not their mother tongue and they prefer to study in English. This year, there is even greater interest than usual among this cohort, and they will be well represented in the incoming class.

“In spite of the Covid challenges, we have discovered a lot of new opportunities,” summarizes Davis. “As a result of the fact that we are ‘Zooming’ all over the world, we’re able to be in contact with many more people this year. We’re in contact with parents and with students all over the world.”

Student testimonials

Jordi Rubenstein, South Africa, 1st year Psychology: "Even though our lectures last semester were online, I enjoyed being in my dorm surrounded by my friends. IDC has gone to special efforts to make our online lectures interesting and productive. Our lecturers have adapted to the online world, which sometimes makes them easier as I can replay them whenever I like to reinforce my understanding! This period has no doubt been difficult, but the extra resources laid on by IDC makes the experience as fulfilling as possible."

Chana Katri, Italy, 2nd year Psychology: "I believe that IDC helped me grow both in a personal and professional way. The method used in class is very interactive – the teachers know all the students' names and they are interested in our opinions. Even during the coronavirus, the professors were always available and patient, making sure all the students keep pace. I am so grateful for this experience and could not ask for anything better."

The Daphna and Gerald Cramer Dormitories and Michael House with the Contribution of the Dina and Raphael Recanati Family FoundationCredit: IDC, Algom Ben Horin

Shiri Lasman, USA, 3rd year Communications: "Moving to Israel, finishing my army service as a lone soldier and studying at IDC was probably the best decision I made in my life. Having the option to study in English and continue to live in this amazing country was a true blessing! Just after one semester at IDC, I was given the opportunity to work alongside all of the amazing RRIS staff as the Social Media Manager and Content Creator in the marketing department!"

James Green, United Kingdom, 3rd year Communications: “IDC has created incredible memories for me. Everyone knows your name and there is a real family environment among classmates, professors and the deans. I have met people from all over the globe and have made connections for life. The last semester was impacted hugely by the coronavirus; however, the school dealt with it fantastically. The Zoom classes were extremely well organized and it allowed for all lectures to be recorded, which aided my revision for my final exams.”

Live in Israel, Study in English

IDC Herzliya’s Raphael Recanati International School (RRIS) offers a wide selection of full-degree programs taught entirely in English:

BA degrees in Psychology, Business, Business and Economics, Communications, Government, Government and Sustainability, Computer Science, Entrepreneurship and Business, and Entrepreneurship and Computer Science.

Master’s degrees in Government, Financial Economics, Organizational Behavior and Development, and Behavioral Economics, as well as a 1-year MBA, MBA in Healthcare Innovation, and a Global MBA.

For more information, visit www.rris.idc.ac.il or contact 09-9602700