Since 2011, we’ve supported approximately 150 student- and faculty-led iTreks to Israel with more than 5,000 students and professors.
What we hear most often from the students and faculty on these trips is how this experience changes them in some way. The impressions they have when visiting historic sites…the connections they make with Israeli leaders and entrepreneurs…and the adventures they have, the friendships they form.
A Catalyst for Other Programs
We’re seeing an increasing number of additional programs emerge as spin-offs from our efforts.
This year, for example, Paul Harper, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Pittsburgh, organized an on-campus conference on Israeli innovation. The conference focused on the innovation economy of Israel with special emphasis on life sciences, including health information technology, medical devices and drug innovations. Harper was a participant on the 2012 iTrek Educators Trip, and was the first educator to lead an iTrek of students from the University of Pittsburgh (he has since brought a second).
Summer Internship in Israel
LIPENG (LEE) XIE, SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, YALE UNIVERSITY
A first-year MBA student, Lipeng (Lee) Xie, knew he had to intern at OurCrowd, an equity- based crowdfunding platform, after hearing the company’s founder and CEO Jon Medved speak to iTrek participants. “Born in China and trained as an electronic engineer, I am surprised by the innovation and entrepreneurship demonstrated by the ‘start-up nation,’” said Xie. “This summer, I will split my internship between OurCrowd in Israel and Intel in Silicon Valley, two of the world’s most innovative economies. I’m sure it will be rewarding and I can’t wait to get back to Israel.”
University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Chicago Booth is one example of how great iTrek Leaders and a strong program can grow iTrek demand on campus. In March 2013, Israel & Co. recruited Booth student leaders and supported an iTrek with 40 students.
The iTrek was a big success and word quickly spread on campus.
The next year, demand skyrocketed and the number of participants more than doubled to 85 students. When the 2015 iTrek opened for registration this past Fall, it sold out within 10 minutes—filling two buses with 85 students.
Emylon Business School, France
In its first year offering a student-led iTrek to Israel, one of the top French business schools, EMLYON, had a significant turnout of 40 students. Here’s what one participant said:
“I discovered this amazing country through both its culture and entrepreneurship spirit. My favorite part was meeting young and creative entrepreneurs.”
Startup Nation Conference
THE FUQUA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, DUKE UNIVERSITY
After leading his 52-person iTrek delegation to Israel, one Duke University student leader said the experience better informed his fellow participants and helped them understand, “how unique and amazing Israel is.” After their trip, the students helped organize the school’s 3rd Annual Startup Nation Conference, which attracted 140 attendees and nine presenting companies.
School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University
While SIPA offers a number of student-led travel opportunities, demand for its inaugural iTrek generated more than 150 applicants for 54 slots, the largest number of any of these types of trips. The 54 students that participated represented 19 different nationalities reflecting the diversity commonly found in other iTreks.
As one student said, “My favorite part of Israel was the people. I loved their honesty, their passion, their good will, and how welcoming they are. Israel is not at all what it seems.”