what is ulpan in israel
An Ulpan (plural: Ulpans or Ulpanim) is an institute or school where intensive courses of Hebrew are offered. The term "Ulpan" comes from the Hebrew verb "לְעַלֵּפּ," meaning to instruct or to teach.
Ulpans were originally established in Israel to help new immigrants learn the Hebrew language and integrate into Israeli society. They play a crucial role in the cultural absorption of immigrants, teaching not only the language but also the culture, history, and societal norms of Israel.
There are different types of Ulpans: some are part-time and others are full-time; some cater specifically to immigrants (Olim), while others are open to anyone wanting to learn Hebrew. These include tourists, foreign workers, and diplomatic staff, among others.
Ulpan courses typically emphasize conversational skills, reading, and writing. The instruction is often immersive, with Hebrew being the language of instruction from the outset, which accelerates the learning process.
There are several levels in the Ulpan system, ranging from Aleph (beginner) to Heh (advanced), so students can progress from having no knowledge of Hebrew to being comfortable in everyday communication and even being capable of reading newspapers and books.