Ulpan-Or Full Review
Ulpan-Or is an innovation center that teaches Hebrew leaning both in person and online. The service’s goal is to help you develop an understanding of the Hebrew language and the Israeli culture. It does this through one-on-one online lessons or through in-person immersion offerings on its Jerusalem and Tel Aviv campuses.
The service offers multiple course types and levels so you can tailor your learning across a few weeks or a month and get something geared specifically to your abilities.
The organization traces its roots back to 20 years of research by its founders Orly and Yoel Ganor, who developed their own immersion program to help students rapidly learn Hebrew.
The company differentiates itself through the extra materials it provides. Beyond specific lessons with individual instructors, Ulpan-Or offers free books and guides for your PC and free interactive elements for your iPhone. It also has its own line of interactive newspapers that contain current events and historical reproductions.
The service has a very successful practice for its in-person classes and educational events. However, reviews for its online program are sparse so it’s recommended to speak with the service through one of its evaluation processes before signing up.
How it works
Ulpan-Or has developed a series of online classes designed for people with some familiarity with the Hebrew language.
The classes it offers are taught in the Ulpan style, meaning only rapid, fluent Hebrew is spoken. This is it immerse you in the language and its speaking patterns, a type of learning that has a long track record of success with Hebrew studies.
Studies use a variety of different techniques and rely on a PC with a microphone for watching and responding to lessons. The service prefers using Skype for interactions but also supports international phone calls to have a better connection – be careful though, some charges may apply.
The service also works with WebYeshiva.org to provide supplemental study programs and courses that move beyond specific language learning and immerse you in the cultural, political, religious or historical traditions of modern and ancient Hebrew.
To determine your class and schedule, Ulpan-Or will have you take an evaluation test. This will give you guidance as to which lesson plan to start: beginner, intermediate or advanced.
Courses are made up of 4 or 8 sessions that focus on expanding vocabulary and developing verbal language skills. As you move to more advanced lessons, text elements are introduced in the form of the company’s proprietary online, interactive Hebrew newspapers called E-Tone.
Lessons come with the appropriate self-study kit for your level, though these kits can also be purchased separately for costs ranging between $19.99 and $139.99.
Lessons involve many interactive elements because Ulpan-Or says these are essential to gaining an understanding of language in the proper context.
How do I know if this service can be helpful for me? How to choose the right plan/level?
To choose the right online plan, Ulpan-Or has two options that you can use to determine your skill level and the appropriate class. First you can take an online quiz to determine your general level. The other option is to book a $49.99 trial lesson that puts you in touch with a personal, native Hebrew speaking coach. The coach will evaluate your skill level through an interview and conversation and help place you in the proper module.
The company does recommend that all users begin with the one-month program so that they develop a skillset that doesn’t fade.
Costs for the different options include:
- Trial lesson: $49.99.
This is a single lesson plan largely dedicated to determining what area of study you should be in. You speak with a coach, perform an evaluation and get a personalized course and materials package presented to you. They will go over the available online courses as well as the self-study packages they offer that fit your abilities.
- Two-week distance learning program: $199.99.
This package includes 4 lessons in the immersive Hebrew style with direct one-on-one learning from Ulpan-Or coach. Each week has two 45-minute lessons. You can purchase the appropriate self-study kit at a discount based on your level.
- One-month distance learning program: $399.99.
This package includes 8 lessons in the immersive Hebrew style with direct one-on-one learning from Ulpan-Or coach. Each week has two 45-minute lessons. You can purchase the appropriate self-study kit at a discount based on your level; materials in this package usually cover two months’ worth of programs.
The service says that after this course you will increase your understanding and comprehension in Hebrew enough to rise one full level compared to your starting position.
Study kits for the two-week and one-month program cost $114, a savings of roughly $26 off the regular purchase price.
Ulpan-Or offers 3 difficulty levels that can be used for any of its two-week or one-month programs: beginner, intermediate, and hard. The breakdown of the classes looks like:
- Beginner’s level class: This session focuses largely on family, food, directions and colors. The goal is to expand your vocabulary by 300 words. The plan starts with basic verbs and alphabet skills through song learning and games. The end goal is to be able to have a conversation in Hebrew.
- Intermediate level class: In this class, your coach will work on a deeper understanding of Hebrew. This includes work through a dialogue book that develops social skills for common situations such as going to a restaurant or grocery store. It covers the different Binyanim in the present tense. At the end of the course, you will be reading the company’s Hebrew interactive newspapers and have an “overall experience of being an Israeli.”
- Advanced level class: This class is for students that already have a strong understanding of Hebrew. The course aims to improve vocabulary and learn advanced verb structures. Discussions will center on current matters in Israeli politics and exciting stories from around the globe. The course also introduces Hebrew commercials and TV programs to learn about culture. The end goal is to have seamless conversations with native speakers.
- The E-Tone newspapers add an interactive element that few other services can provide; they are also highly praised by reviewers.
- The service allows you to schedule your lessons at your convenience.
- Its partnership with WebYeshiva.org adds a large set of supplementary materials for your study.
- The company offers a lot of different study materials for your PC and even your Apple device like an iPhone or iPad.
- There are very few reviews across the Web for the service, though most are positive.
- You’ll likely need to leave a message for the service if you have questions because it does not operate on a U.S. business-hour schedule.
Which level of Hebrew should I be in to study at Ulpan-Or?
The company teaches all levels and says people of any skill level are welcome. It offers study kits for different cases and will tailor your course to your specific abilities.
How will I know what my level of Hebrew is?
The company offers different ways to test your skills. If you live in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, you can stop by its office for a free evaluation. Outside of there, you can call the service, take an online quiz, or schedule a distance learning evaluation course.
Do I need a previous background in Hebrew?
Not at all! The evaluation will determine your skill and the service will develop your lesson from there.
How long are the meetings?
Distance learning modules are 45 minutes per session.
Are there any special programs for children?
Ulpan-Or says children can use any of its regular services for distance learning. On the other hand, its in-person options have specific kids’ classes.
When can I start?
Programs start every Sunday throughout the year, but you need to sign up and set a date prior to the week starting.
Ulpan-Or offers a one-on-one service that teaches you Hebrew at your skill level during two weeks or a full month. The service offering seems pretty solid but there are few reviews of the service not available on its website.
The one-on-one immersion service is a great model for language learning and the company does promise that all of its teachers are native speakers so you should be in good hands.
Another major benefit of the service is its E-Tone custom, interactive Hebrew newspapers. This is an offering that few other companies can duplicate and adds a very relevant experience to your lessons.
The offering is strong, but still somewhat of an unknown. The safest bet is likely to contact the service and give it a try or speak with an advisor before signing on for a full one-month program.
The Hebrew Alphabet consists of 22 letters (From right to left). Click on the letter you wish to practice: