First-year medical students at the Medical School for International Health depart for Israel during the last week in July. The first semester, which begins at the end of August, is preceded by a mandatory four-week orientation period. The summer orientation course provides an introduction to the students’ new environment and an intensive course in spoken Hebrew.
The orientation also includes an overview of Israeli cultures and geography with emphasis on the populations and medical services of the Negev. An Introduction to Global Health Concepts and Practices and courses in emergency medicine and medical ethics are also offered during the orientation.
Intensive Hebrew instruction in Israel before the required orientation is highly recommended. Students who are interested in such programs should inform the Columbia University office when confirming their acceptance.