At a Glance:
Three locations in the Northern Negev Desert; a program geared towards personal enrichment through experiential learning and community building; the first non-Orthodox mechina, and the first to absorb international participants.
Mechinat Nachshon, in the northern part of Israel’s beautiful Negev Desert, is a 10-month authentic Israel experience, where you’ll study in Hebrew, volunteer and travel around Israel, with Israelis your age. Over the course of its more than 19 years of existence, Nachshon was in such high demand that it expanded to three separate campuses. Nachshon is also proud to be the first mechina to open its doors to participants from outside Israel.
Your time in Nachshon is divided into “In” weeks, when you are on campus, learning from leading lecturers, and “out” weeks, when you are out of campus in the field, learning hands-on through experiential programs. “Out” weeks include both bus tours and intensive nature hikes, all of which are designed to get you to see as much of Israel as possible.
The study program at Nachshon takes place in a variety of formats (discussions, lectures, trips and experiential learning), it includes studies in education, philosophy, politics, current affairs, communication, economics, Bible, Israeli culture and more. Special emphasis is given to learning about leadership, Zionism, Jewish peoplehood, Jewish identity, and Israeli society.
As a student at Mechinat Nachshon, you’ll take part in building portions of the curriculum, including student weeks and student classes. During student weeks, a committee of Mechina students will design that week’s educational program for the whole group, including inviting guest lecturers, arranging classes and organizing trips. In addition, as part of Nachshon’s leadership-building program, you’ll learn how to prepare and teach a student class to the group.
Each "In week", you’ll take part in volunteering projects in the community, which are also planned by the students. Projects range from working with disadvantaged children to assisting and visiting the elderly. In addition to long-term volunteering assignments, you’ll take part in one-time volunteering project on trips and excursions.
Long-term projects include tutoring youth from disadvantaged populations in the area, including the Ethiopian and Bedouin populations, as well as other underprivileged communities. You can also gain experience in public advocacy projects, where you’ll work with local officials to improve conditions for local populations. One-time projects may include running special activities for children in immigrant absorption centers, arranging an activity in an senior citizens home, or visiting hospitals.
Life in Nachshon is designed to foster both individual and group development. The fast-paced and hectic schedule in the Mechina will give you experience in self-management and enable you to develop independence. Your experience f being fully-immersed in a foreign culture will give you new insight and knowledge, while you gain valuable new leadership skills. At the same time, you’ll be part of a dynamic group life, in which the group collectively governs the mini-society in the Mechina. You’ll take part in committees that are responsible for almost every aspect of the program, including educational programming, social activities, trips and excursions, and more. Decisions about day-to-day life in the Mechina are made democratically through discussions involving all members of the group.