Ever wondered what life’s like in the Middle East? Why not try working for a kibbutz in Israel? A kibbutz is a community where its members work in exchange for free food and lodgings. You will also receive a small wage but mainly people choose to work on a kibbutz to get the chance to live and work with interesting volunteers from all around the world.
No doubt you will make some very good friends while you’re there, and the memories, both good and bad, will stay with you for a lifetime. Plus most places will have some great free facilities to use such as a swimming pool, tennis courts, gym and bar.
However a kibbutz is not for everyone, hard work, minimal pay and basic rooms with little in the way of privacy will certainly put a few people off. But try to look past the initial hardship and you will see a kibbutz has a lot to offer in terms of fun and entertainment; you will probably spend more time either working or socializing to worry about your room. Volunteers on a kibbutz enjoy a good party and generally they like to let their hair down in the bar after a hard day’s work. Plus you will find lots of organized tours and trips around Israel for when you feel the need to escape and explore the beautiful countryside and beaches.
How to apply to work on a kibbutz:
The best way to find work on a kibbutz is to use a local travel agency such as STA Travel whilst you’re still at home. That way you will have a good idea of what to expect before flying out to Israel. Arriving without having a job secured in advance is not advisable, all the jobs may already have been filled or you may have to take what’s left regardless of the living conditions or location. Generally the good places will fill up quickly so it’s a good idea to plan in advance.
When to go:
Generally, the best time to go on a kibbutz is over the summertime with long sunny days that let you enjoy a good barbecue after work. But don’t be put off over the wintertime, staff are needed 365 days a year and you will find Israeli winters are quite mild anyway.
What jobs are available on a kibbutz:
A kibbutz is essentially a working holiday and volunteers are expected to pull their weight. The work can be physically demanding with manual jobs from washing dishes to gardening, picking fruit, cooking, cleaning, tending to cattle or driving farm vehicles. This list is hardly exhaustive and each kibbutz will have slightly different requirements. Generally, you will start with a less popular job such as cleaning before climbing the ladder to a cushier job as other longer term residents leave. Due to the heat, the day starts early at about 6 or 7 am and usually ends in the afternoon. You will also be expected to turn up for work 6 days a week, Saturday being the only day of rest.
If you arrive at a kibbutz with an open mind and a sense of adventure, you’re sure to have a good time. It is a great way to experience life in Israel and is a real chance to make lasting friendships with many people around the world and experience new cultures.


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