Ben-Gurion University launches prep year program in Russian for new Olim

The program will allow Russian speakers to continue their studies immediately and prepare for potential matriculation to the University.

A man kisses the ground as new olim arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport. (photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)
A man kisses the ground as new olim arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport.
(photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)

The Ben-Gurion University of the Negev announced on Sunday that they have launched the "Aliya to Academia" program, which is intended for Russian speakers who immigrated to Israel in 2022.

The program, launched in partnership with Israel’s Education and Absorption Ministries and the Jewish Agency for Israel, will allow Russian speakers to continue their studies immediately and prepare for potential matriculation to the University.

"This unique program offers the opportunity to acquire higher education and thanks to the people and organizations who supported the program, these students can focus on their studies and start their lives here with their needs fully supported," says Alona Kushnir, director of Russian-speaking donor relations at the University.

BGU’s Prep year program for Russian Olim 

The program offers 1,000 hours of Hebrew instruction, as well as six academic courses that will count towards their undergraduate degrees. BGU will also offer courses in mathematics, physics and programming taught in Russian, as well as Hebrew ulpan, mentoring and additional support programs, such as field trips around Israel to familiarize them with their new home.

 SOVIET OLIM celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1990 great wave of aliyah, at the Jerusalem Convention Center, 2015. (credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90) SOVIET OLIM celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1990 great wave of aliyah, at the Jerusalem Convention Center, 2015. (credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)

"Integrating researchers, scientists, and professionals from various fields, as well as young people who are slated to join academia, is a tremendous windfall for the State of Israel," Kushnir added.

Over 40,000 olim from Ukraine and Russia have arrived in Israel since February. The Aliyah and Integration Ministry, in conjunction with the Finance Ministry, proposed a new NIS 90 million emergency plan for the absorption of Russian olim in September.

Prof. Louisa Meshi, a member of the University’s Department of Materials Engineering and the Rector's advisor on new immigrants, heads the program. She herself immigrated to Israel in 1990 and is a Ben-Gurion University alum.

"We are pleased to open the gates of Israeli academia to the program's participants and help them acquire higher education," Meshi declared. "I believe that studying at Ben-Gurion University will motivate them to build new lives here with us in Israel."