“At the University of Haifa,” says Michal Morgenstern-Laor, Executive Director of the International School, “we want our international students to feel that the school is their home away from home.” Situated on the slopes of beautiful Mount Carmel in northern Israel, the University of Haifa’s English-language International School hosts 1,200 students from 90 countries who come to study and grow in the university’s unique multi-cultural atmosphere that reflects the character of Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city. “You may hear Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Spanish, German or English as you explore the cafés and museums on campus, “says Dawn Olin, a student in the MA program in Israel Studies. “The university is a mosaic of cultures that fit seamlessly even if the pieces are vastly different.”
Of particular interest are the school’s International Master Programs, which offer master’s-level degree studies in eighteen different disciplines, including Archeology, Marine Biology, National Security Studies, Public Health, Political Science, Holocaust Studies, and many others.
The one and two-year master’s programs equip students with the practical tools they need to succeed in their respective fields and promote creative problem solving with global impact.
The University of Haifa is the first educational institution in Israel to adopt the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and is committed to environmental and social sustainability. The theme of Sustainable Development Goals is an integral part of all programs at the International School. “We believe that academic institutions have a public responsibility and a special role in promoting a better and a more sustainable society,” explains Baruch Marzan, Vice President for Internationalization and Sustainability. “We aim to be an active partner in global efforts to reduce poverty, increase social equality, and foster health, and SDGs are a compass that helps us lead the education and research that will deal with the challenges presented to the world,” he adds.
A good example is the International Master’s in Public Health (I-MPH) program. “Our program is very much focused on the Sustainable Development Goals, including health and wellbeing, gender inequality, the need for clean water and sanitation, inequities, climate change and international cooperation. The program provides students with a strong foundation from which to critically examine current global health challenges, instilling in them the skills and practical tools to effectively lead the changes in a quickly globalizing world,” says Prof. Manfred Green, head of the program. “We are training the next generation of leaders,” adds Morgenstern-Laor, noting with pride that the school’s International Master’s in Public Health program, specializing in Health Systems Administration and Global Health Leadership, is one of only a handful programs outside of North America to be accredited by the US public health education accrediting organization, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
Students studying at the University of Haifa’s International Programs get to experience the best of Israel, learning about the land and interacting with the local population. “The city of Haifa, together with the university campus, is a microcosm of Israeli society,” says Michal Morgenstern-Laor. People of different religions are in the city, studying, living and working together. We provide our students with a different experience, combining Israeli culture and other cultures, living on Mount Carmel, with the beautiful beaches nearby for sports and recreation.” She adds that students in the International School enjoy rich social activities, celebrate diverse cultural events and tour the country.
What sets the University of Haifa International Master’s programs apart from the competition? “Three things,” says Michal Morgenstern-Laor. “Academic excellence, the diversity of our student body and cohesiveness of its nature, as well as the personal assistance that we provide to our students.” The school provides round-the-clock assistance to students in dealing with changing Covid regulations before and after their arrival to Israel, as well as personal support during their studies. Julie Rautio Ben Arush, Head of the International Masters Programs Department, adds that the University of Haifa has also offered classes in a hybrid format throughout the pandemic, combining frontal learning with virtual classes for those in isolation or unable to be present physically.
“There is laughter, deep discussions, shopping at the displays in the common areas, music, and new friendships to be made daily,” says graduate student Dawn Olin. “Whether you live on campus or find housing in the community, your classmates will stay in touch and likely become your dearest friends in life.”
This article was written in cooperation with University of Haifa