The Best Pieces of Advice Come from Those Who Went Through it Themselves! 
 

I asked Olim who made aliyah between grades 7-12 for their top pieces of advice and tips that they felt helped them get through high school. This is what they wrote!

Tamar, 9th Grade
Ramat Beit Shemesh

Definitely go to school with other English speakers and if you can try to meet classmates before you start school that way on the first day you already know people and it is a bit less overwhelming. Also don't be afraid to talk to people in Hebrew and sound stupid and make mistakes. It happens to every oleh but its the only way to learn Hebrew.

Naftali, 7th grade
Beit Shemesh

Don't feel like you’re an outsider because you’re an immigrant- Israel is built on immigrants! Don't be afraid to try to speak Hebrew and don’t take Israelis too seriously!

Kabira, 9th Grade
Ramot

Join youth groups! Like NCSY Israel and other local youth programs. Youth groups are a great opportunity to learn and explore Eretz Israel, have a lot of fun, and make friends with great teens & Madrichim who also made Aliyah.

Shira, 9th Grade
Efrat

To help my class understand what aliyah was like for me, my teacher asked me to make a slideshow about my aliyah and present it to the class. Many girls came up to me afterwards and expressed how touched they were. They hadn't realized how challenging aliyah could be and now that they understood a little better they were happy to offer help with school work and whatever I needed. Make sure to introduce yourself on the first day of school, explain that you are x amount of years in the country and what your hebrew skills are.

Libby, 7th Grade
Tzfat

One thing I would definitely try and focus on during my first year in Israel would be tutors. Everyday after school I had a tutor that would go through every subject with me helping me out with homework, translating my notes, and studying for tests. I would also recommend only focusing on a few important subjects the first year and try and succeed in those. Another thing I would recommend would be making a close Israeli friend that you can speak to in Hebrew and can help you correct your notes and speech.

Aliyah, 9th Grade
Gush Etzion

Try and speak as much Hebrew as you can, that way you will become fluent way way faster. It's helpful to find Israeli friends who are willing to talk to you in Hebrew. Also don't worry so much about your school grades for that year.

Shira, 11th Grade
Ramat Beit Shemesh

It’s been less than a year, but it’s really important to keep in touch with friends. Make a goal to call a few people every Sunday or at nights (if you are up that late.) Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone understands that you need help and if you ask they will give it to you! Don’t be scared to ask!

Dovi, 10th Grade
Yerushalayim

Get to know the people and the language. This country is built through relationships and innovation- who you know, and what you know. That often means kinda jumping into the water scholastically, culturally, and socially, going full blown Israeli as fast as possible. The first summer after I moved I hiked the country, met tons of people and really got to know my country. Looking back, putting myself in an Israeli bubble was one of the best decisions I ever made!

Gabby, 10th Grade
Katamon

What helped me adjust was mainly a good an open attitude even before I arrived. I tried getting excited about the new things that were to come instead of only being sad and scared and that helped prep me. For example, where I came from there were very few Jewish schools to choose from. I got excited about the fact that I’d have many schools to choose from upon coming here. Then when I arrived I tried to remind myself that things happen slowly and not all at once- like making new friends. That can be hard but it happens over time. In the meantime focus on what you do have control over- for example schoolwork, or a different passion or hobby.

Esther Reena, 7th Grade
Ramat Beit Shemesh

Making friends might be hard, take one step at a time. Someone told me you can change your personality. If you’re a bit shy you could start becoming more outgoing! Just add a smile to some of the girls. it could make a big difference. כל התחלות קשות

Yosef, 9th Grade
Ramat Beit Shemesh

The biggest piece of advice I can give to an עולה is, don’t worry about your grades or falling behind in your education or anything like that. The most important thing is to focus on learning Hebrew; whether it’s practicing speaking to someone, or reading a Hebrew book, that is the key to everything. Once your Hebrew gets better, I can almost promise you that you will do better in school, and you will start to be a real, contributing member to your class.

Elisheva, 8th Grade
Rechovot

To get a tutor to keep up with schoolwork/ homework / anything I needed help with.

Esther, 10th Grade 
Kfar Saba

My advice would be to try as hard as possible even if you don’t speak fluent Hebrew to became part of the Israeli society. Instead of being with the American program I was in, I decided to do the activities with the Israelis, join Bnei Akiva and I even moved to the Israeli bedrooms! People here in Israel are very welcoming since there is a high percentage of Olim who make aliyah! That’s for sure going to help with catching up the language much faster and to have new experiences that you haven’t experienced before.

Shifra, 9th Grade
Beit Shemesh

It's too much to focus on language, social, and academic all at once in high school. would recommend doing it one at a time.

Anonymous, 
Yerushalayim

Moving anywhere can be challenging. Moving to a place not knowing the language is way more challenging. I remember having huge headaches everyday after school for the first half a year or so. It’s frustrating especially when you feel the language isn’t coming naturally but it just takes a bit of time. There are plenty of people that have been through it before and it is extremely encouraging to see people that have moved here during high school and have acclimated so well. I think the best advice I can give is to have lots of patience and the will power to continue learning the language even when it’s tough. (Also, probably better to get a bit out of your comfort zone and find some extremely nice friends that ONLY speak Hebrew...that’s the best way to learn. But equally important is finding good friends to help you get through the challenges and be there to laugh at the stupid grammatical mistakes you make in class.)

Rivka, 9th Grade 
Ramat Beit Shemesh

I would say it’s really important to take the time to make friends. Don’t worry about learning Hebrew or gettings A’s in the very beginning that’ll happen. Focus on making good friends that can help you acclimate faster and easier to life in Israel

Hadassa, 7th Grade 
Efrat

In my opinion, the most important thing to do when making aliya is to NOT ever compare yourself to anyone else! Your self worth is not measured by other people’s success or lack there of. Each person works on an individual timeline and comparing yourself to anyone else is not only going to potentially make YOU feel bad, but really it’s pointless. Always remember how great you are, and feel proud of any progress you make, no matter how small. Remember that Hashem loves you and enjoy the zchus of living in the land Am Yisrael was promised back in the day.

Meira, 10th Grade 
Ramat Beit Shemesh

I like to do everything by myself so when I made Aliyah and had to start asking for help it was hard for me but there are people who want to help you and a lot of times you can’t do it on your own and you need help and that’s ok. Also I never believed it would get easier -in terms of the adjustment, language socially...- but over time it did and it will for you too.

Uriel, 9th Grade  
Ramat Beit Shemesh

Something that really helped me in particular was going to gym. I barely did anything in school the first year as I was still trying to learn the language, and as a result I had a lot of free time on my hands. It is crucial to find ways to productively spend leisure time as in my experience there was a lot for me.

Joella, 11th Grade 
Rechavia

First of all, take everything you hear with a grain of salt. The transition can be harder for some people than others, and that's completely okay. You're allowed to be homesick, and you're allowed to miss your old friends. Everyone has their own journey; someone else's experience with Israel won't necessarily reflect your own. That being said, my main advice to you would be this: don't be afraid to put yourself out there! You'll figure it out as you go. Try out your Hebrew, take the bus, make new friends, explore the area you're living in! While tutors and online programs can be a huge help, I've learned the most just by living here. Good luck!!

Shira, 11th Grade  
Ramot

I came to Israel in 11th grade, and since my classmates were really nice, they thought I would appreciate being spoken to in english. I asked them to teach me new words and to only speak to me in Hebrew. I also kept a notebook where I had all the new words that I learned.

Dina, 7th Grade  
Ramat Beit Shemesh

Moving as a teen to any place is extremely difficult, friends wise, so instead of using all your free time learning and worrying about your hebrew, use that time to make friends! The Hebrew will come at some point, whether it be 6 months or 2 years. But most girls already have groups of friends and when they see a new girl, they try to make friends right away, they won't wait around for you till you're adjusted. So my recommendation would be, first make a few good friends and then you'll have a much easier time learning hebrew with their support and the burden of not having friends off your shoulders. I spent most of my time with my friends hanging out after school and on Shabbos at either of our houses or taking walks.

Chani, 7th Grade  
Kibbutz Migdal Oz

If your looking to integrate and learn the language quickly, we recommend moving to an Israeli community. We made aliyah to a strictly Israeli kibbutz, therefore, we had no choice but to learn Hebrew, and we picked it up much faster as opposed to many of our olim friends who moved to Anglo communities. ( Note: There will always be English speaking families. Just remember, half of Israel made aliyah!) However, living in an Anglo community does have its benefits. We now live in Efrat, where there are so many English speakers and Olim. Here we are able to relate and connect with families like ourselves.

Tali, 11th Grade  
Ramat Beit Shemesh

In order to be an Oleh, you really have to forget about your own pride, and learn to just ask ppl for things and accept help . That was hard to get used to, but I just kept telling myself ״לא הבישן לומד״

Tsipora, 9th Grade  
Yerushalayim

Take things a step at a time!

It is completely normal to feel pressured to learn Hebrew faster or make friends who grew up in a completely doffrent world than you, but take things at your own pace! I remember when moving to Israel I was most shocked by how different the people were and how I differed from them! As long as you take things at your own pace and slowly adjust you will understand that you arrived in the best country in the world!

Israel is a beautiful country where there is so much to do and so much potential!

Take advantage! Learn the culture! Get to know the amazing people here. One step at a time! You got this!

Tova, 7th Grade  
Ramat Beit Shemesh

I had an amazing teacher in high school who really wanted me to be part of the class and understand his lessons. So whenever he would teach (in Hebrew) and get to a word that he thought I wouldn’t know he would also say the word in English so that I could understand the lesson! This really helped me feel part of the class and I was able to take notes and keep up with everybody!

Ruthie, 8th Grade 
Gush Etzion

A lot of people say that the most important thing the first few years is to learn Hebrew and make friends, but you really just have to let it come to you. I haven't gone out places to make friends, I made them at school, and things like ulpan and duolingo don't work for me, being around hebrew speakers and having to use hebrew does. It's okay if you hate it here or love it, and one of the most important things is to be happy, even if that means going to school in english etc.

Avigayil, 7th Grade  
Ramat Beit Shemesh

So something that really helped me was that i bought myself a little notebook and in class everytime that i heard a word that i didnt know, i wrote it down and by the end of the day i made sure to write down the translation (i either asked a friend or i looked it up). And its really nice to look back and see all the words that i now know.

Chaya, 8th Grade  
Kibbutz Migdal Oz

Some places in Israel have an Olim coordinator. It's great to look into that. An Olim coordinater can be a good contact to have & they almost always have their connections;)

Olim get benefits for up to 10 years when it comes to money, help in school, housing, preparing for army/sherut, Olim events, and so much more! Make sure to always ask about benefits. Connect with Nefesh B'Nefesh & AACI; great organizations to be in touch with as Olim.

Anonymous

I would really recommend for the oleh/olah to see a therapist throughout their journey. Even though we wish it were easy, reality is that Aliyah is very challenging and draining both emotionally and mentally. It can really help. (I personally did not see a therapist throughout my first year of Aliyah, and it was really very challenging and I struggled. My last year of high school I did see a therapist, and it really really helped and bH it got much better) It’s very important to take care of our emotional well-being, and make sure that we’re healthy and thriving mentally too!!!

Elana, 12th Grade 
Yerushalayim

When I first made aliya, I wasn't sure if I was staying or planning on going back to America for college. I originally enrolled in a school which was well known in the United States and would therefore look better on a college application. But I soon found that I was having a hard time finding finding people I had much in common with there.

Eventually I moved to YTA (Yerushalayim Torah Academy), an english-speaking high school, and found an amazing support system of friends and teachers which made my Aliya experience so special. I ended up deciding to stay in Israel after that year. After YTA, I went to midrasha and then served in the army.

Shalom, 7th Grade 
Ramat Beit Shemesh

Israel is the way to go and making aliyah was the best thing I have ever done! The first years are rough but tachlis Israel is the place to go spiritually and to become a better person overall.

Rochel, 9th Grade 
Givaat Ze'v

Part of making Aliyah is staying true to who you are and where you came from but to also fit in. Learning and adapting to the culture is so helpful to wanting to stay. Making Israeli friends and going to Israeli schools is a great direction for many to help have a life here. In hindsight after going to Israeli high schools I realized it really helped me learn the language, culture, society norms and build my life here in Israel. It was hard because the school and students didn’t really know what to do with an olah, but it was great because I wasn’t expected to be anyone! It’s a struggle that helps have a future after high school.

Kabira, 9th Grade
Ramot

Ask, and really know your rights as a Oleh and remember you are not alone :). Learn in a school that makes you feel welcome, happy and brings you excitement to learn. Hang out around people that impower you, inspire you to grow and help you feel comfortable to be yourself. And be open to learning and sometimes making mistakes.

Uriel, 9th Grade  
Ramat Beit Shemesh

Something I found that really helped me get through my first year of aliyah was simply accepting that I did not know hebrew and allowing myself to speak regardless of the way I sounded. The truth is that no one cares if you've forgotten a word or if you sound like a foreigner. I found that people really appreciated me trying to speak their language and for the most part they were quite accommodating.

Shira, 9th Grade
Efrat

Take advantage of every day you have off of school and tour the land! It helps you connect to your new home and is a good break from school work! My parents took us on trips on our days off – we planted trees at KKL, went down to Mitzpeh Rimon etc.

Rochel, 9th Grade 
Givaat Ze'v

There are many norms, stereotypes and expectations regarding people that make Aliyah- Ignore all of them!! Do what feels right- you don’t have to learn the language as fast as her/him. Make as many friends, take tests, or go on trips just because someone else does... even if they made Aliyah before you. Yes, you should go outside your comfort zone but never be embarrassed about your process.

Zvi, 8th Grade  
Maalot Tarshisha

No two people are the same, so it’s normal to feel different or left out. I didn’t look like my classmates, I couldn’t communicate with them (knew a few words in Hebrew), I wasn’t good at soccer/football, I didn’t share anything with them other than my age, and the list goes on. I felt so out of place which was hard, but I wanted to give it a shot. It’s more than ok to be different! Everyone is different and this is what makes everyone unique.

Tali, 11th Grade  
Ramat Beit Shemesh

I personally learnt the most Hebrew from the classes and participating in the classes, and taking tests etc. so I would advise (for whoever capable) to try as best as possible to participate (even though it’s really hard) any try to take tests with the class, even if the grades won’t count, just Bc learning information (I studied mostly by seeing Hebrew notes and translating them) and also taking a test in Hebrew really is a great way to improve your language