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Degree of Adaptation of Jerusalem Palestinian Students at Israeli Academic Colleges

Omar Mizel


Several international and local studies have indicated that Arab students face specific difficulties in adapting to and integrating into Israeli colleges. This research aims to identify and analyze the adaptation difficulties faced by Palestinian students in academic colleges in Israel. The research sample consists of Palestinian freshmen from different schools and neighborhoods in East Jerusalem who are studying at a college in West Jerusalem. In-depth interviews were used to document and analyze the experiences and challenges of these students on campus. The interviews revealed a number of factors that impede students’ adaptation and their academic success, and they can be grouped under the concepts of culture shock, language barriers, isolation, and transportation. To deal with these difficulties, students used different strategies such as piety, withdrawal, dependency, and distancing. Implementing specific programs to consider and address specific social and cultural aspects of Palestinian students’ difficulties may contribute to reducing the alienation and culture shock they face in college, such as introducing programs on life skills and treatment of others, hiring faculty who are capable of understanding the Palestinian cultural context and introducing qualified Arab staff in the administrative and service departments.

Keywords: Culture shock, Hebrew, Israel, language barrier, Palestinians

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pp. 403-430