Questions & Answers
What makes this program different from others?
AMHSI is the only pluralistic, college-prep, international academic experience in English for high school students in Israel, offering 6-week, 8-week and 18-week sessions. AMHSI is more than just an academic or travel program – the curriculum is conducted in chronological historical order, with on-site learning at the actual places where history took place! Climb Masada with the Romans, fight the Crusaders at Belvoir, and learn Kabbala with the mystics in Tzfat. Your next class may be at the beach, atop a mountain, or inside an ancient fortress. Learning in an ordered timeline on-site makes the material more understandable, interesting, and more importantly- more enjoyable and memorable.
Especially designed to help students gain a broader view of the world and develop a deep appreciation of history, international relations, geography and literature, AMHSI students will develop valuable new learning skills and perspectives that will assist them throughout high school and college.
AMHSI is more than just a trip to Israel – it is an opportunity to gain independence and learn how to live away from home – live with roommates, manage school assignments and free time, budget spending money – it is a lot like college and serves as a great transitional preparatory experience. Sudents enjoy independence and freedom but within a structured, supportive system; professional staff, supportive teachers, and caring madrichim (resident counselors) guide the students every step of the way to help students transition into new responsibilities.
What places will I be visiting in Israel?
AMHSI’s unique curriculum takes students throughout Israel to places of importance in the order in which they became historically important, not just wherever is next closest geographically. Because of this, some places may be visited more than once and at different times in the program because of the site’s various importance to the history of Israel.
For example, one of the first trips, or tiyulim, is to Tel Gezer, where an ancient Canaanite city flourished circa 2000 BCE. A few weeks later in the program, students travel back to that part of the country but in an entirely different context. At this point, they travel to the urban city of Tel Aviv, where 4,000 years of history have transpired since their first trip. Because of the lessons and history they have learned since then, it is more relevant and easier to understand the chronology and how history has shaped the country in that time.
Take a look at the map to see some of the program highlights and place you will visit. Once you are here, there’s so much more to see!
How will I get high school credit and college credit?
AMHSI is designed to provide you with an intense encounter with Israel without losing any ground academically as far as your high school studies and college preparation. Working with your guidance counselors and school administrators, AMHSI implements a curriculum that addresses all your academic needs while providing an extensive introduction to the history, culture and civilization of Israel from the Biblical Period through the present. Usually, your school will allow your grade from AMHSI to count towards Social Studies, English, Physical Education, and other subjects, in place of your regular requirements.
For other subjects such as math, science, and foreign language, the AMHSI General Studies program provides individual instruction on campus based on a curriculum consistent with your home school. Using your assigned textbooks and course assignments, instruction is properly arranged in advance so that the home school’s curriculum is thoroughly covered in Israel. You won’t “miss” any school or fall behind; in fact, many students have even reported returning home after AMHSI to find that their grades for the general studies subjects were not only at the same level as their home-school peers, but oftentimes even higher, due to the intimate size of the tutorial classes in Israel!
AMHSI 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 are also eligible to earn college credits through the AMHSI program. Earning college credits will not only give you a competitive advantage when applying to colleges, but will also put you ahead academically at the college of your choice by entering with up to 6 credits.
AMHSI is able to provide General Studies instruction at all levels, including regular, honors, AP, and IB classes. The campus is an official testing site for the PSAT and AP exams and students can also take the SAT, IB and ACT exams in Israel.
The flexibility of our courses allow for a credit exchange through curriculum planning between AMHSI and your high school. When setting up your schedule, AMHSI will ensure you get the most credit possible from our core Israel history class and so you will have fewer General Studies classes to take. Your local AMHSI Director of Admissions will work closely with you and your school to create the optimal schedule. AMHSI can provide General Studies courses in nearly every subject. Whether it be math, lab science, AP courses, computer courses, and more, AMHSI will do its best to make the schedule fit your needs. Contact your local Director of Admissions to begin coordinating your schedule today!
Where is AMHSI located?
Our main campus is located in a small suburban residential community called Hod HaSharon. Affectionately known as “the Hod”, it is approximately 1 hour from Jerusalem and 20 minutes from Tel Aviv, situated on the coast of Herzliya. 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.
AMHSI has recently opened a second campus location in the Negev at Eshel Hanassi. The new campus is located 12 kilometers from Beer Sheva.
Who goes to AMHSI?
Students from all over the US, Canada, Australia, Latin America and Europe attend AMHSI and typically:
Want to be more than just tourists in Israel
Want to learn about Israel’s history and culture from an inside perspective
Want a college-like study abroad experience
Are in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade
Have a GPA of at least 2.5
Are independent or seek to be independent
Want to learn and have fun at the same time!
What is campus life like?
AMHSI’s beautiful Hod Hasharon campus is located within the Mosenson Youth Village, an international facility that educates Israeli students and is also a boarding school for students from around the world including the former Soviet Union, Germany, France, Hungary, Ethiopia, and others. While AMHSI has its own dormitories and academic facilities, the relationship with Mosenson enables global peer-interaction amongst our students.
The campus consists of:
Administrative and academic classroom buildings
Four dormitories with full amenities, laundry facilities and wireless internet
Kosher Dining room providing 3 full meals to students every day, with a selection of fresh, tasty and nutritious food
State-of-the-art radio station
Computer room with Internet access
Basketball court, athletic grounds, and a fitness center
The four dormitories are designed as suites, with usually 4 students in a room. Dorm buildings are co-ed, but each floor is assigned to just males or females. A male and female counselor live on-site in each dorm building with the students. The suites are furnished with beds, desks, and a closet for each person; each room is equipped with heat/AC. A common room (moadon) on each floor has a fridge, microwave, and couches for group socializing. The dorm definitely becomes a home away from home.
Madrichim live in the dorms and interact regularly with the students, conducting group activities and meetings. Movie nights and evening activities are organized on a regular basis and social events are coordinated with other dorms. AMHSI hosts an end of session banquet completely organized by students – from choosing the theme and decorations to planning the menu and entertainment!
Student life on campus is under teacher, counselor, and administrative supervision while at the same time giving students the opportunity to mature, gain independence and learn valuable skills for college and life.
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, even the weather. Contact your regional Director of Admissions who can help you decide on the best time for you to attend AMHSI. No matter when you attend, it will be an amazing experience!
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.
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 there a religious aspect? Do I need to speak Hebrew?
AMHSI is not affiliated with any religious movement. The program’s pluralistic atmosphere respects the religious and spiritual needs of all students and does not promote any Jewish denominational point of view. At the same time, the school does not violate halacha (Jewish law). The cafeteria on campus is certified kosher, as is all food associated with the program. Shabbat observance is optional but there is no travel on Shabbat. There are optional religious services on campus, but AMHSI does not mandate any religious services for students.
The program is for English-speaking students and is conducted entirely in English. Though after interacting with Israelis and hearing Hebrew spoken throughout the country, students may acquire a basic knowledge of Hebrew vocabulary, and may be inclined to take a Hebrew language course in the future.
AMHSI can model its programs to fit any specific religious or programming requests from day school groups or other community trips. Contact Jordana Bickel, email@example.com, to find out more about programming options for your school or group.
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. AMHSI has been operating for nearly 40 years and we are very proud of the safety records of the school.
Whether students are on campus, on tiyul, or having free time, safety and security is taken seriously: on campus, the grounds are fenced and guarded and students have an evening curfew; AMHSI clears all field trips through the appropriate agencies and authorities in advance; and even when students go away for a free weekend, their travel is coordinated and pre-approved. AMHSI uses a private bus company for all travel, all groups are accompanied by a guard/paramedic, and all teachers, staff, and counselors carry cell phones for instant communication regarding security issues, as well as more mundane concerns such as changes in weather, traffic jams, and so on, which can also affect the itinerary.
AMHSI stringently adheres to the strict security regulations imposed by the government of Israel, and AMHSI is in ongoing contact with the security authorities who coordinate all student travel in Israel to ensure up-to-date security information.
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.
If you are in need of financial assistance, please contact your regional Director of Admissions who can guide you to local scholarship resources. For more information, please see our section on Financial Assistance.
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.
We are pleased to introduce the AMHSI JNF Visa Prepaid Card. The AMHSI Visa Prepaid Card can be used anywhere that Visa Debit Cards are accepted. It can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs. Students can use a parent’s card or you can even order a secondary card for an AMHSI student to use while they are in Israel to make sure they have the money they need. In this way, students learn to budget their money, do not have to be responsible for safekeeping all their cash during the semester, and also are alleviated of the hassle and fees of exchanging currency. To learn more and apply, click here.
Travelers’ checks are not recommended as they are not always easy to use.
Can students visit family and friends in Israel?
During the AMHSI program, several weekends are designated as “open weekends” and students are able to stay with family or friends, pre-arranged by the students’ parents. (“Open weekends” are from Friday at noon until Saturday night.) Family and friends are welcome to visit students on our campus, but for security purposes, must be coordinated with staff prior to the arranged visit.
How can I communicate with my friends and family while I'm in Israel?
AMHSI dorms have wireless internet access for students who opt to bring laptop computers. Students are encouraged to rent a cell phone while in Israel; AMHSI has secured discounted rates with a particular provider. This service network enables the school to send group text messages to the entire student group immediately and 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 each Friday from the Head of School, highlighting the group activities and news from the week. Counselors are provided with digital cameras to photograph the students’ activities and trips; the photos are posted to the AMHSI website regularly and parents can access their child’s group album and visualize the amazing experiences the students are living.
Before each session begins, parents are provided with the email addresses and cell phone numbers of their students’ teachers, counselors, the head of school, deans, and campus doctor and nurse. AMHSI staff is available 24/7.
What happens when a student gets sick?
AMHSI has a medical doctor and a nurse on staff on call at all hours of the day for emergencies. In addition, there are office hours during which the nurse is available to examine students who have any health complaints and to provide appropriate treatment. Please feel free to contact the nurse if/when you are concerned about your child. The best way to reach the nurse is via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student counselors (madrichim), as well as other staff who come in contact with students, are trained to identify, evaluate and respond to signs of trauma or distress, physical as well as psychological. AMHSI is in close proximity to two major hospitals in Israel.
Please see additional information here.