Haifa is a beautiful Mediterranean city surrounded by miles of natural beaches and the Carmel National Park. In addition, Haifa is Israel’s foremost port city for international commerce and a center of high tech industry. Haifa is the world center of the Baha'i faith, and the Jewish, Christian, Moslem and Druze communities play important roles in shaping the city’s harmonious and friendly social ambiance. Haifa is a city that offers all forms of cultural entertainment with its internationally acclaimed symphony orchestra and theater and numerous cinemas, discos, restaurants and pubs.
The University of Haifa is located on top of Mt. Carmel on the southeast side of the city bordering on the Carmel National Park. Over 17,000 students are enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the faculties of humanities, social science, education, social welfare, science and science education, and law. The University is also the home of a number of research institutes and study centers and offers extensive pre-academic and external study programs.
Dormitory and Gym Facilities:
The student dormitories are located on campus and there is a security guard at the entrance 24 hours a day.
All bedrooms are furnished with a bed, desk and chair, bookshelf, and a closet for each student. The kitchen is equipped with a refrigerator and hot plate. Students are provided with bedding (one pillow, one pillowcase, two sheets, and one blanket) but must supply their own towels, cooking utensils and cleaning supplies. Laundry rooms with washers and dryers, a TV room, and a grocery store are available in the dormitories. Students are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of their suites and for respecting quiet and privacy for others.
Room assignments are made upon arrival to campus. You may indicate a particular person with whom you wish to share a room, though we cannot guarantee that we will be able to grant your request. The dormitory complex is fully integrated with Israeli students.
The University of Haifa has a gym on campus with different aerobic machines (treadmill, bicycles, and elliptical machines) as well as weights. The facility is located within short walking-distance from the dormitories. International students are welcome to purchase a membership to the gym for the period of time that they will be in Haifa. Students will have the opportunity to express interest in a gym membership prior to their arrival to campus. For those who indicate interest, we will prepare their registration forms in advance and they will register directly through the gym administration upon arrival.
Food and Living Expenses:
There is no meal plan at the University of Haifa, but students can prepare meals in their suites. A grocery store is located in the dormitory complex and larger supermarkets are within a short distance from the campus. There are also subsidized cafeterias located on campus serving kosher meals during the day at reasonable prices. Numerous restaurants are located within a short driving distance from campus.
You should plan to spend $500-$600 per month for food, independent travel, and incidental expenses. You may need a bit more for the first month to cover initial purchases of household items and books.
You must have a passport that is valid for the duration of the time you expect to be abroad.
Israeli Visa Requirements:
Israeli visa requirements vary based on your country of citizenship. It is your responsibility to verify with the Israeli Embassy closest to you what the specific requirements are for a person with your citizenship. All students must receive their proper student visa before coming to Israel.
Please note: if you have Israeli citizenship or if you have a parent with Israeli citizenship, special rules apply to you. These rules are explained below.
Student Visa: A student visa is a multiple-entry visa valid for one year during which time you can leave and re-enter Israel a number of times within the period of validation without having to secure a new visa. Student visas are renewable after one year both in Israel and abroad. Students participating in the semester or year programs should arrange for a student visa before their arrival to Israel. Having your student visa will eliminate any problems at the airport. If you are unable to attain the visa before arrival, please be in touch with us before your arrival so that we can help arrange the necessary appointments for you in Israel.
To apply for a student visa you must apply to the nearest Israeli Consulate in your area. The Israeli Consulate will inform you as to which type of documents you will need. Most likely you will need to submit the following items with your application:
1) Your passport, valid for at least two more years.
2) Your letter of acceptance to the University of Haifa.
3) For students under the age of 18 years, a notarized declaration of permission to attend the University of Haifa signed by both parents (if possible).
4) Two copies of the visa application form, with one photograph attached to each copy. Forms can be obtained from the Israeli Consulate.
5) Proof of sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses.
If you do not live near an Israeli Consulate, please contact the closest consulate by phone. If arrangements are made far enough in advance, a visa can usually be attained by mail.
Students who were born in Israel and/or whose parents are or were Israeli citizens are generally not permitted to enter Israel on a tourist visa, but instead need Israeli travel documents. Due to frequent changes in regulations these students should consult the Israeli consulate in their area to clarify their status and complete any necessary steps before arrival.
Arrival and Flight Information
Travel to Israel:
Upon acceptance to the University of Haifa, you will receive information regarding when you can move into the student dormitories. Please refer to this information, which changes from semester to semester, before you book your travel. Students need to make their own travel arrangements to Israel and to the University of Haifa.
Due to heightened security on all flights traveling to Israel, we encourage you to check in three hours ahead of your departure time. Security personnel will routinely ask all passengers questions about their baggage, destination, and purpose for traveling. In addition to your passport and ticket, we strongly recommend that you have a copy of your letter of admission to the International School at the University of Haifa easily accessible to verify your identity and purpose for traveling.
We recommend that you do not ship luggage to Israel. It is best to take your belongings with you and check them on your flight. If you must take excess baggage, it is much less expensive to pay the extra baggage charge than to ship baggage. If you choose to ship luggage, please note that procedures for clearing bags through customs can be quite complicated. You must have a detailed itemized list of the content for each bag, and you may be taxed on personal items whether they are new or used. In addition to customs fees, you may be required to pay port fees and handling charges. Rather than bringing excess luggage or shipping baggage, we encourage you to minimize your packing and consider purchasing necessities upon arrival in Israel.
How to Arrive from the Airport to the University of Haifa:
Ben Gurion International Airport is about a 1.5 hour car ride from the University of Haifa. It is very easy to find your way from Ben-Gurion International Airport to the University of Haifa. The three best options are:
1) Sherut: Shared taxis called sherut wait outside the arrivals hall exit. There are sherut that bring people directly to Haifa, and you will see signs “Shuttle to Haifa” as you exit the airport. Let the driver know that you need to be dropped off at the dormitories of the University of Haifa. As soon as the sherut van fills with ten people, it will leave for Haifa and will bring you directly to campus. The cost of the sherut is about 87 shekels or about $25. Please note that at night and on weekends the charge might be more.
2) Train: There is a train station at the airport where you can board a train that will bring you directly to Haifa. You will want to get off at the "Hof HaCarmel" train station in Haifa. From there you can either take bus #46, #146 or a private taxi to the University. The cost of the train is about 40 shekel (about $12). A bus to campus will cost 6.60 shekel (about $1.80). A private taxi to the university will cost another 60-80 shekel ($20) depending on the time of day and day of week. The train is very comfortable, but if you have large amounts of luggage, it might be a challenge.
3) Private taxi: Private taxis wait at the airport to take travelers to all destinations in Israel. A private taxi from the airport to the University of Haifa will cost between 400-500 Shekel ($100-$140). Please note that at night and on weekends the charge might be more.
What To Bring
Suggested Packing List:
Dress in Israel tends to be casual, and what you wear at your home university is probably what you will want to wear at the University of Haifa. In addition to your basic clothing, we suggest you bring the following items:
Sleeping bag (for overnight trips during fall & spring semesters)
*** Must bring SIM-free phone
If you will be living in the dormitories on campus, the dormitories will provide you with sheets, blankets, and a pillow.
It should be noted that most American and European brands of toiletries can be purchased in Israel, and Israel offers many comparable brands, so there is no need to bring a year's supply of toiletries. Some items, such as batteries and reading material, are very expensive in Israel, so you may want to bring enough to last you through your stay. Click here for a printable version of the what to bring list.
Dictionary: If you intend to study Hebrew while you are in Israel, you will want to bring a dictionary that translates between Hebrew and your native language. Dictionaries can also be purchased at the University's bookstore.
Travel Guide: You may want to bring a travel guide to Israel. Lonely Planet and Let's Go are recommended because they are geared towards students.
Photographs: You are encouraged to bring several extra passport photos. You may need these for a gym membership, visa renewal, and other needs.
International Student ID Card: Although you will be issued a student card by the International School that will give you access to facilities at the University of Haifa, you may want to purchase an International Student Identification Card (ISIC), which will entitle you to certain travel discounts, reduced fares on entrances to attractions, and other reductions both in Israel and anywhere else you may travel. The card can be purchased at most student travel agencies.
The electrical current in Israel is 220 volts, 50 cycles (as opposed to the 110 volts and 60 cycles in North America). Therefore, if you choose to bring any electrical equipment, you will need to purchase a transformer. Some appliances, such as hair-dryers and shavers, may be dual-voltage, and for these you will need adapter plugs that are convertible to the Middle East. We suggest that you bring an alarm clock that runs on batteries.
Although there are computers available throughout the campus and in the dormitories, you will want to bring your own laptop computer. Most of the University of Haifa is equipped with wireless internet access, though wireless access is not available in the dorm rooms. Be sure that you have a good lock for your computer, and that it is compatible with 220 volts.
Communication While in Israel
A letter or package will take 7-14 days to arrive in Israel via standard airmail, depending on the country of origin. If the package is due customs and/or weighs over 2kg, there may be an additional postal fee. Customs fees are usually charged for packages valued by the sender at $50 or more. The fees for sending packages via FedEx, UPS, and DHL are often very high. We advise you to bring all electronic items and appliances with you and not send them by mail. Electronic items that are sent by mail will be subject to customs fees even if they are not new. Students may be asked to come to the main post office in downtown Haifa to clear such items.
All mail should be clearly addressed:
C/O International School
University of Haifa
199 Aba Khoushy Ave., Mt. Carmel
Haifa 3498838, Israel
Your mailbox is located just outside the International School office. Mail is delivered every morning. You will be notified via text message if you receive a package.
Students may receive fax communications via the International School office. Our fax number is +972-4-8240391. Unless there is an emergency, students are not allowed to send fax messages via the office. Students may use the fax services located at the campus post office.
Students have free internet access at the computer terminals located throughout campus and in the dormitories. In addition, there is wireless internet access available throughout campus, though not in individual student dorm rooms. Students are encouraged to check their e-mail daily as most of the communications from the International School will come via e-mail.
Since the University of Haifa is first and foremost committed to student safety and security, we require that all students bring with them a SIM-free phone.Students are required to have their cell phones charged and with them at all times to enable International School staff to reach them in the event of an emergency.
Students can arrange with the Bezek Telephone Company to have a private phone installed in their dorm room. Students will be asked to pay a security deposit on the phone that will be returned when the service is concluded and the final bill is paid. Deposits will not be sent to you abroad, but are only refunded in the form of an Israeli check.
The International School is unable to provide students with the means of making or receiving personal calls unless a true emergency exists. The office can receive messages for students during its regular office hours on Sunday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Healthcare and Insurance
Health insurance for all full-time students in the International School is included in your tuition fee. Upon acceptance to the University of Haifa you will receive information about Harel-Yedidim Insurance Agency, the company with whom the University of Haifa works. Please note that the Israeli health insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions and is limited to students under the age of 65. Therefore, if you do not qualify for the Israeli health insurance due to a pre-existing condition or your age, you must continue to be covered by your health insurance from your home country.
If you are taking prescription medication, it is advisable to bring an adequate supply for the duration of your trip abroad. If that is not possible, you should bring a doctor’s prescription (clearly typed in English) for the medicine that you are using, or a prescription of a generic medication that is suitable for your condition. If your medication is sent to you through the mail, you will be required to present a copy of the prescription to the Israel Customs Office before it can be released.
Students who need counseling services are welcome to use the Berman Counseling Center on campus. English-speaking counselors are available for international students. There is a fee for counseling services; this fee is the responsibility of the student.
Banking and Money Matters
The easiest way to obtain cash while in Israel is to use your bank/ATM card from your bank in your home country. Be sure to check with your bank ahead of time to find out if your card can be used internationally and if any extra fees apply. Also, if your card requires a password, be sure to bring it with you. There is a branch of Bank HaPoalim on campus with ATM machines that accept international cards.
You are encouraged to notify your bank ahead of time of the dates you will be abroad and where you will be traveling. This will prevent them from freezing your bank card due to what they may consider suspicious activity if they don't know you're abroad.
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Israel, and many places will also accept Diner's Club and American Express. Credit cards can be used for purchases in stores, restaurants, movies, and for various services. In addition, your credit card can often provide you with a cash advance.
You are encouraged to notify your credit card company ahead of time of the dates you will be abroad and where you will be traveling. This will prevent them from freezing your credit card due to what they may consider suspicious activity if they don't know you're abroad.
Opening an Israeli Bank Account:
We do not recommend that students open a bank account in Israel. Israeli banks charge many fees, and it is more cost effective to use your home bank’s ATM card to withdraw cash from an Israeli bank.