Arriving from across the globe, students bring a breadth and depth of diverse customs, beliefs, and opinions to the Arava Institute. Cultural exchange is frequent as students live, study, and eat meals together. Every effort is made to provide a diverse living arrangement in each apartment unit so that students can learn from each other in a multi-cultural community. Typically, up to four students live in one unit, with two students sharing a bedroom and bathroom. Differences in nationality, religion, age, language, and social norms emerge daily, and good communication between roommates is a necessity.
In addition to natural friendships and interactions, there are also planned activities to direct cultural discussions and exchange. Programs vary each semester according to the unique needs of the current student body. Students also take an active role in organizing holiday celebrations, potlucks, parties, and music sessions that nurture communication and exchange. At least once a semester, students, staff, and community members take part in Culture Night during which participants gather to view and lead presentations on aspects of their culture, from traditional clothing and food to music and dance.
Aside from planned inter-cultural events, we strongly encourage students to learn about other cultures through language learning outside of the classroom. Around the Kibbutz students speak informally with others to practice what they’ve learned, which is a great way to connect with other students or interns!