The Arava Institute was founded in 1996 and initially partnered with Tel Aviv University. Today, the Institute is joined with Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Israel (another program Washington College partners with as well!) and has been since 2002. The Institute is located in the Negev Desert, about 30 minutes north of the town of Eliat. The Institute located on Kibbutz Ketura, which is a particular rural, and fairly isolated Kibbutz. A Kibbutz, meaning communal settlement in Hebrew, is a type of settlement in which the community all share the same property, production, and education. The Kibbutz Ketura community is around 400 people, including the Institute students. All activity at the Institute, including classes, meals, residences, and extracurriculars are located on the Kibbutz.
The Arava Institute's academic program is focused on the environmental challenges facing the Middle East. Its student population is roughly one-third Israeli students, one-third Palestinian students, and one-third international students. The program was developed around the idea that the environmental crises in the Middle East are separate from the region's politics. Focusing on environmental science as well as peace and conflict resolution courses, the Arava Institute's mission is to unify and "to advance cross-border environmental cooperation in the face of political conflict" (found here).
The Arava Institute is located on the Kibbutz Ketura, which is found in the Negev Desert in Israel. This area is fairly isolated and rural, however the unique construction of a Kibbutz should fulfill all students' needs.
All students will live in Residence Halls on the Kibbutz. All the Residence Halls are air-conditioned and usually have 4 rooms per unit. Each unit shares a kitchenette and common space, and each unit typically holds 8 students. All dormitories are within walking distance to the Institute's other facilities (i.e. classrooms, laundry, sports facilities, etc.). Because our agreement with the Arava Institute is a Tuition-Only exchange program, you will pay the "Room" fees directly to the Institute, not to Washington College. More information about the Residence Halls can be found here