The following information is for people with spouses, significant others, and/or children. Additionally, the interest group “Families in Medicine” exists to help students and their loved ones as they settle in Israel. Several students have compiled a lengthier survey with in-depth questions about childbirth and raising children in Israel. This is available upon request from Gaby Koren at||ybag.

Basic Information:
Significant Others and Spouses
Visa Options

  • Tourist Visa – Holders of this visa must exit the country every 90 days and can obtain a new visa upon reentry.
  • Volunteer Visa – Obtained through volunteer agencies.
  • Work Visa - If you wish to work in Israel you must first find secure employment in Israel and ask your prospective employer to apply for a work visa for you there. Note that in order to obtain such a visa, you should NOT apply for the spouse’s visa through the University.
  • Student Visa – For those studying at an Israeli institution.
  • Spouse/child of student Visa.

Formal employment in Israel proper is difficult to find for non-Israeli citizens and can sometimes be more challenging for non-Jewish individuals. Try to make the necessary contacts as much as possible before leaving for Israel, since there might be legal documents that you will need to bring with you to present to future employers.
Those with “portable skills” have been able to maintain steady incomes by doing contractual and often transcontinental work. Some examples include: graphic design, editing, web development, teaching English for Wall Street and Berlitz, baby sitting, tutoring
Please keep in mind that job follow-up in Israel requires you to be much more culturally aggressive. It is expected that you will check in to make sure that they have received your résumé and then contact them several weeks later to express continued interest, if you have still not heard back from the organization.
Transcontinental commuting – some significant others/spouses maintain positions in the US or Canada.
Some job hunting resources used in the past:,

Main article: Volunteering
Opportunities that may include “living stipends” can be found at
More volunteer options can be found on our own student website at

  • Arab NGOs – primarily in northern Israel.
  • Israeli NGOs including
  • Save a Child’s Heart**- organization that supports cardiac surgeries for children from developing countries treated in Israel.
  • Be'er Sova- a soup kitchen that runs a “meals on wheels” program and a “restaurant” in the Old City.
  • Bedouin town – volunteering options available in the school system.
  • Ethiopian absorption center in Beer Sheva.

Studying – Many significant others and spouses also study here. This requires funds, but loans are available for many programs. In general, for those able to commute to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem there are many more English educational options available.

Options in English

  • M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies at BGU – 1 yr. Many spouses of MSIH students have attended this program over the years. Honors MBA program at BGU – 13 months.
  • M.Sc. Program in Desert Studies at BGU – 2 yrs. Art/dance classes – Hebrew and English options.
  • Hebrew University Rothberg School: They offer a variety of master’s programs, including Jewish Studies and non-profit management.
  • Tel Aviv University also offers an English language business program for those willing to commute.

Options in Hebrew

  • Master’s in Financial Mathematics at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, 18 month long program.

Learning Hebrew
Main article: Language study

  • Hebrew Ulpan (Intensive Hebrew Language Study) – available at BGU and throughout the country. We cannot stress enough the immense importance of language in easing the transition to life in Israel. Though Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are relatively *English-speaking cities, the immigrant populations of Beer Sheva have lower English fluency.
  • Hebrew University’s summer ulpan as well as the Ben Gurion one are highly regarded. Please be aware, however, that places fill up fast. If you are interested in participating, make sure to contact them mid-Spring to early summer so you don’t get locked out.
  • Another option for learning Hebrew is to stay in Israel the summer between first and second year of MSIH and enroll in a full-time Hebrew ulpan then. Several students in the class of 2011 did this and recommend it highly, especially towards improving the student experience on the wards in third year.
  • Arabic language classes: Available at BGU

For Hebrew speakers, the Dukium organization also dispenses Arabic language classes. Contact them at gro.muikud|ofni#gro.muikud|ofni

  • Ulpan Akiva in Netanya for Arabic immersion

Schools – As of now there are no English speaking daycares or schools in Beer Sheva. Private English speaking care can be found, however.
Elementary Schools – private and public schools available.

  • Age 0-5 – There are many “gan” (day care) options available near the hospital. If you are interested in trying one out for a week or two, do not hesitate to ask. Some daycares are open to the idea of short trial periods in the summer.

There is a government office for the public daycares.
Make sure to ask around early and sign up as early as you can, since spaces often fill up.

  • Public System “Iriyah” – Large variation in quality of care and tuition cost – ranging from 300-1,000 NIS per month per child. These are subsidized for Israeli citizens. To reach the government office for public daycares, ask for Gila at (+972) 8-62-64-773.
  • Private System (regulated by the city) – Similar to US and Canadian expectations for quality of care, but more expensive than the public system – ranging from 1,400-2,000 NIS per month per child.
  • English speaking nannies are available to be hired. Some students have used significant others of MSIH students for childcare services.

Those planning to have children during their time at MSIH should be advised to talk to the administration well in advance to work out possible arrangements for “leave of absence.” The MSIH administration has in the past been very flexible and helpful in reaching individual schedules, but students should always make sure to make all accommodations in writing, with the approval of several senior administrators.
Those insured with Harel Insurance should also be advised that the basic Harel plan does NOT cover birth or potential perinatal complications to mother and child.
A list of our trusted English-speaking pediatricians and Family Physicians is available from the school office. Previous families have recommended Pediatrician Dr. Gazela in the Migdal Harekevet near the Central Bus Station from personal experience.
A list of Well-Baby Clinics in the area is available from the school office – This is where immunizations are given to all children under the age of 2. It is important to have all medical records on hand as immunization schedules in Israel (Europe) may vary slightly from those in the US or Canada.
Please see the more comprehensive information in the general student guidebook for recommendations for dentists and Ob/Gyns.
There's also a "mother's room" in the hospital. In the old Ob-Gyn building, on the second floor, in the newborn nursery, they have a room with a Medela hospital grade pump- There's only enough space for one chair at a time, though. I didn't check it out, but I heard there might be a new second nursing room in that area.
a Pump= Mash-ai-va
to nurse = leh-ha-neek
Bathrooms in Be'er Sheva do not have outlets, so if a nursing mom wants to use her pump closer to class, she'll need to have reusable/rechargeable batteries.

Packing list extras for families - Just about everything is available for purchase in Israel, but often at significantly higher prices than you may be used to in the US or Canada. However, used children’s items are available at (find Tel Aviv under international cities), or (in Hebrew, but student liaisons are available to translate).
A good stroller with wide, large wheels is very necessary in Beer Sheva as the city is constantly under construction, making sidewalks very rocky and bumpy.
English children’s books are very hard to find in Beer Sheva.
Ready-made vegetable baby food is all but impossible to find, but real fruit baby food is available.
Israeli crib mattress sheets are smaller than standard US sizes and often do not fit US crib mattresses.
Community environment – Israel is a very family friendly society.
Near the hospital there are a few small parks within walking distance. In neighborhoods a little further out, there are beautiful parks and places for children to play.
There is a Gymboree-style indoor play park (Halal HaNiflah) on the outskirts of Beer Sheva and another in the One Plaza.
Kanyon HaNegev (the mall near the train station) has an indoor play area for young children. There are often activities and crafts for children taking place at the malls.
A zoo with local animals can be found on the Northern outskirts of the city.

Shopping and Safety
If you go to the supermarket and don’t have a car and are making a big shopping trip, the supermarkets deliver groceries to your house for 20 shekel (~$5) It is called a mishloach.
IKEA has a location in Israel, north of Beer Sheva, in Rishon LeTziyon, which offers relatively reasonably priced new furniture. There are also Israeli web sites like that you can browse yourself or ask the Israeli student liaisons to help you.
Anglobeersheba and the other Anglo listserves, like janglo and tanglo for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv respectively, are good resources for second-hand furniture and general information when you first arrive. Keep in mind, however, that the transportation costs for moving purchases from those sites can be quite high.
Don’t bring anything expensive!!! Theft is a problem here. Don’t bring your good jewelry and keep your diamond ring on your hand (don’t leave it at home if you go away). Beer Sheva is a very safe city, but there is a significant amount of home theft.

Main article: Transportation
In Israel, a round trip bus ticket out of Beer Sheva is called a Haloch Chazor, and is cheaper than 2 one ways. When you travel with someone (i.e. your spouse) you can buy one ticket and stamp it twice. For example if you are going to Tel Aviv, buy ONE haloch chazor each way (and then you don’t have to worry about losing a ticket).
If you fold your kid’s stroller on the bus and sit down with your kid then you don’t need to buy your kid a ticket but if you keep them in the stroller then you need to pay for them.
Alternatively, you can get rides with other BGU students by ride-sharing. All the rides are listed on the student union web site at

Overall, having a significant other and family in medical school is a challenge, but also a wonderful source of support. The MSIH community would not be complete without all the significant others, spouses and children who join us and support our students throughout our studies and future careers. We have found that with good planning and realistic expectations medical school and life in Beer Sheva can be a positive experience for everyone involved. PLEASE contact current students or graduates – we are happy to share more information and advice specific to your situation.