Questions & Answers
What makes this program different from others?
So, why come to Israel on AMHSI?
First of all, we offer an immersive Israel experience, different from nearly every other program. Based in Hod HaSharon, our students interact with Israelis on a daily level, becoming exposed to a new culture, language, and life.
And not only do students have the opportunity to learn about life in Israel but also, they can learn about other cultures as we have students coming from Australia, Chile, Austria, Canada and more!
Furthermore, by living away from home for months at a time in high school, students will become better prepared for college. At AMHSI, students learn skills and tools that will give them a jump start on their next adventure.
And speaking of college – when applying, stand out from the crowd! Colleges are impressed by high school students who have an academic experience abroad! American University even congratulated one of our students on having attended AMHSI in their acceptance letter!
Also, as a non-denominational, pluralistic program, we offer students of all backgrounds the opportunity to learn about their heritage and identity in a way that feels comfortable to them. Our core curriculum allows for deep, meaningful discussions in an open and supportive environment led by our experienced educators.
And finally – watch as the land becomes a living classroom as students use Israel’s local historical, geographic and human resources to discover a new and amazing place!
How will I get high school credit and college credit?
AMHSI is designed to provide you with an unforgettable journey through Israel without having to worry about how you will keep up with your high school studies and college preparation!
The program is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, ensuring that high school credits earned at AMHSI are fully transferable to students’ US high schools. Students attending AMHSI during academic year sessions will take their home school courses through the General Studies Department.
Many students have reported that their grades for general studies subjects taken at AMHSI were not only at the same level as their home-school peers, but often, even higher, due to the intimate size of the tutorial classes in Israel!
Students also take the core curriculum, a history class reviewing Israel and 4,000 years of Jewish history. Some schools may allow the core history course to count towards other subjects.
Students who successfully complete the core curriculum are also eligible to earn up to six transferable college credits from the University of Miami. Earning college credits will not only give you a competitive advantage when applying to colleges, but will also put you ahead academically.
All students who successfully complete the program will receive a transcript for the general studies courses and the core history course.
Where is AMHSI located?
The AMHSI campus is located in a small, suburban residential community called Hod HaSharon. Affectionately known as “the Hod”, it is approximately one hour from Jerusalem and 20 minutes from Tel Aviv.
It is a lovely and secure neighborhood, within walking distance from cafés, restaurants, and shops of all varieties. Friendly and inviting, diverse and textured, Hod HaSharon affords students the opportunity for informal, everyday interactions with the local community.
Click here for directions to the AMHSI campus.
Who goes to AMHSI?
Our students are 10th -12th grade students from all over North America and the world, but mainly from the US and must also be at least 15 years of age to attend an AMHSI session during the academic year. For our summer program, students must have completed 10th grade. Students who attend AMHSI typically want to be more than just tourists in Israel – they want to learn about Israel’s history and culture from an inside perspective.
Our average student profile includes students who are:
- Eager to learn
- Excited by challenges
- Open to new ideas and experiences
- Prepared for an independent but supportive lifestyle
- Empathetic towards others
- Want to have a fun and enjoyable time in Israel!
*Students who apply to the AMHSI program should hold a GPA of at least 2.5 or higher.
What is campus life like?
The AMHSI campus is a home away from home for our students. Students often share that hanging out in the dorms or spending time on campus with their friends is among their favorite aspect of the AMHSI program!
During the evening, students often have free time where they are allowed to go into town or hang out with their friends on campus, such as in their dorm moadon (common room), the music room, at Ofer’s (the on-campus kiosk selling snacks and Israeli fast food like shnitzel and shakshuka), or outside, if weather-permitting.
As a result, AMHSI is truly a college-like experience as students must learn how to prioritize their time, making sure that they complete their homework, as well as get enough sleep between all of the fun!
Our madrichim (counselors) and staff are always available to our students to advise as well as to help guide them towards the right choices.
When is the best time to go?
AMHSI sessions are held throughout the year, so no matter when you want to attend, there is a session for everyone!
Each session has its own unique features, but all students will tell you that their session at AMHSI was the best! When choosing which session to attend, consider what is happening at school, your academic workload, extracurricular activities, even the weather.
Another consideration for some students is that junior year participation allows you to use your AMHSI college-level experience and grade when applying for colleges. (It also makes for a great college essay topic!) On the other hand, senior year is often less stressful academically so this may be an advantage to you.
No matter when you attend, it will be an amazing experience!.
Who are the teachers and counselors?
A hallmark of the AMHSI program is that the teachers are educators, not merely tour guides. All are native English speakers and nearly all are Olim (immigrated) from North America. Our teachers have extensive knowledge of the sites in Israel, academic training in Jewish history, a love of learning and teaching, and in-depth familiarity with the AMHSI experiential style, hands-on curriculum. Most significantly, AMHSI educators have the gift of making Israel come alive and become relevant to their students. The teacher to student ratio for the core curriculum is one teacher to approximately 20 students. For more information on our educators, please see our Faculty & Staff page.
Madrichim, or resident counselors, live in the dorms with the students, travel on all trips, and participate in all aspects of the group’s daily lives. Madrichim plan group activities and informal outings and provide students with a personal connection to the vibrant lives of Israel’s young adults. All madrichim are trained to provide personal and emotional support and help students process their experiences in the land of Israel. Like our educators, the madrichim are an integral part of the AMHSI program.
Is AMHSI a religiously observant program?
As a non-denominational program, AMHSI does not affiliate with any specific religious movement. We believe attending a program in a pluralistic environment allows students to explore new approaches and to learn about backgrounds different from their own.
At AMHSI, all activities are Shabbat-friendly and all AMHSI-provided meals are kosher. The dining hall (hadar ochel) on campus is certified kosher by the rabbinate of Hod HaSharon.
While AMHSI considers itself a Jewish program, non-Jewish students have successfully attended in the past.
Students who have questions regarding any specific issues may contact the Dean of Students.
Is it safe to go to Israel?
The safety and security of our students is our top priority. While Israel is statistically safer than most metropolitan areas in the United States, AMHSI exercises utmost caution in planning and implementing all aspects of the program. Whether students are on campus, on tiyul, or having free time, safety and security is taken seriously.
For more information, please visit our Safety and Security page.
Is the work hard? What about free time?
Students tell us that the Israel history class can be challenging as it is not like any history class you’ve ever taken before, but that the teachers “make you want to learn.” All of your work is done with your friends and is based on what you learn in class and on field trips. All of this makes the learning fun, hands-on, and relevant. On the days that you’re on campus, you will have ample free time to visit Hod HaSharon’s great shops, cafes, and restaurants, and check out nearby areas. On the free weekends, you can visit family and friends in Israel.
Are scholarships available?
AMHSI will do all in its power to secure funding and scholarships to enable you to come to Israel for the experience of a lifetime. Generous local and national scholarships are available through many agencies and are usually need-based.
For more information, please see visit the Tuition and Financial Aid page. You can also speak with your regional Director of Admissions who can guide you to additional local scholarship resources.
How much spending money do I need?
There is no set amount of money needed, but typically students spend about $100 per week on dining out, souvenirs, or other activities. The most convenient way for AMHSI students to manage their expenses in Israel is through a prepaid debit card.
Travelers’ checks are not recommended as they are not always easy to use.
Can students visit family and friends in Israel?
During AMHSI sessions, several weekends are designated as “open weekends” and students are able to stay with family or friends. (Open weekends are from Friday at noon until Saturday night.)
As part of the application process, students will be requested to complete the open weekend form to provide the program with the relevant contact information for students’ family or friends. This information can be updated during the session.
Family and friends are welcome to visit students on our campus, but for security purposes, all visits must be coordinated with staff in advance.
How can I communicate with my friends and family while I'm in Israel?
The AMHSI campus has wireless internet access that can be accessed by students via smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Additionally, students are encouraged to rent a cell phone or a SIM card for an unlocked phone while in Israel. AMHSI has secured discounted rates with a particular provider. This enables the program to send text messages to the entire student group simultaneously and offers an additional mode of communication for parents to reach their child directly.
To help parents and friends share this experience with their children as it unfolds, weekly email updates are sent from the Head of School, highlighting the group activities and news from the week. Photos are posted regularly to an album for each group on the AMHSI website under the Photos & Media page and Facebook page.
Before each session begins, parents are provided with the email addresses and cell phone numbers of students’ teachers, counselors, the Head of School, deans, and nurse. AMHSI staff is available 24/7.
What happens when a student gets sick?
AMHSI has a medical doctor and a nurse on call at all hours of the day for emergencies. In addition, the nurse is available to examine students who have any health complaints and to provide appropriate treatment during infirmary hours.
Students who do not feel well should visit the infirmary or contact a madrich/a (counselor) or staff person outside of regular infirmary hours.
For more information, please see the Health Services page.