Amir Landsman and the Alumni of Israel’s Open University

Since 1980, the Open University of Israel has been awarding undergraduate and graduate degrees to students from around the globe. This prestigious university teaches more than 39,000 students from the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. More students enroll in the Open University than in any other institution in Israel. The Council of Higher Education in Israel accredits all degrees granted by the Open University, so potential registrants are assured a high-quality education.

Through a combination of self-study, distance education, audio-visual presentations and video conferencing, busy adults can learn concepts as if they were sitting in a classroom. They can also stay in touch with professors and classmates via email and through the course website. This flexible format is ideal for military personnel, traveling businesspeople and other individuals who cannot go to campus on a regular basis. Being away from the professor’s eyes does not mean that students can skate by without self-discipline: the Open University’s virtual courses are just as rigorous as its on-campus offerings. All classes and reading materials are presented in Hebrew, so the ability to read, write and speak the language is paramount.

At the bachelor’s degree level, men and women can pursue coursework in the physical sciences, social sciences, humanities and engineering. Examples include biotechnology, computer science, mathematics, molecular biology, physics, accounting, management, economics, education, international relations, political science, psychology, African studies, film studies, Middle Eastern studies and philosophy. Many of these degrees come exclusively from the Open University of Israel. Others are taught in conjunction with other institutions of higher learning.

After taking classes through the Open University, many students, such as Amir Landsman of New York, continue on to other schools. Bridge courses at the Open University of Israel transfer into select programs at Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Technion, the University of Haifa, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Bar-Ilan University and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. In Amir Landsman’s case, he studied through the macroeconomics program in Haifa. He now runs a merchant cash advance company for small-business owners who cannot obtain bank financing or do not want to.

People who graduate from Open University or from an equivalent university abroad may choose to pursue graduate studies. Qualified individuals can earn advanced degrees in business administration, democracy studies, education, biological thought, computer science or cultural studies. Even though these programs focus on distance learning, some faculty meetings must take place in central Israel. Students should be aware of the travel requirements before enrolling.

Open University graduates go on to do amazing things. As just one example, Adam Singolda had attended the Open University while serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. He recently raised $40 million in investment capital for his video recommendation service, Taboola. Whether a person has career aspirations in business, technology, the sciences or the psyche, the Open University of Israel provides an excellent basis for lifelong learning.

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