You must have a valid passport. Most countries require a passport which is valid (doesn’t expire) for at least six additional months from the date of entry into the respective country. If your passport is about to expire, please renew it prior to your trip.
Pre-arrival visas to enter Israel are not required for citizens of Australia, Canada, the United States, Western Europe and many other countries. You will be issued a tourist visa, usually valid for 90 days, when you arrive at the airport. There is no cost for this tourist visa. You will receive a small slip of paper as your visa and entry record; keep this safely with your passport. Passports are no longer stamped.
However, it is your responsibility to know whether or not Israel requires a pre-arrival visa for citizens of your passport country. Please consult the nearest Israeli Consulate or your travel agent well before the start of the course to see if you need an Israeli visa as it may take several weeks to obtain an Israeli visa. St George’s College cannot obtain a visa for you.
If your personal travel plans involve an excursion back and forth between Israel and another Middle Eastern country (e.g. Jordan, Sinai/Egypt or Turkey), you must take advice whether or not you will need a multiple entry visa for Israel. For St George’s College courses that include travel to another country, such as Jordan, a group travel visa will be obtained by the College for you.
All course participants are expected to have TRAVEL insurance to cover the cost of flight cancellations, as well as INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL insurance for medical care while abroad. You can usually purchase trip cancellation insurance through your travel agent or online. Bring with you the name and contact information of your insurance agent and medical insurance company.
Before you purchase your airline tickets, please check that your place on the programme has been confirmed as the College DOES NOT refund airline tickets for any reason.
Check with your medical insurance provider to find out if your coverage is active while abroad as you MUST be covered if there is a medical emergency during your trip. If an existing medical policy does not cover you while abroad, you must purchase a special travel medical insurance policy.
Arrival and Departure Information
Please try to arrive in the country at least a day or two prior to the beginning of the course in order to recover from travel fatigue and jet lag. Accommodations may be available at the College before and/or after the course. If you wish to stay additional nights at the College, you should contact the College registrar before making your airline reservations.
Please note that extended stays before or after the course are not always available. The charge for extended stays at the college is $80.00 per day, per person, which includes bed and breakfast.
Students departing on the day of the final included breakfast may remain in rooms until their necessary time of departure, even if you do not leave until the evening, without charge. There is no checkout time on that day.
Once you finalize your travel plans, please let us know the date and time of your airport arrival, along with your airline and flight number, so we can plan for your arrival at the College. It usually takes 1 ½ -2 ½ hours to reach the College after landing.
There is a staff member on duty at the College twenty-four hours a day. Regardless of when you arrive, there will be someone here to welcome you and to show you to your room.
In any case . . .
You are expected to be in the College in time for the opening service in St George’s Cathedral at 18:00 on the night before the programme begins. The service is followed by a reception and an evening meal.
The opening night (room and board) is included in your course fees.
The course ends with a farewell gathering, reception and final dinner. Accommodation on the final night and breakfast the next morning are included in your course fees.
Money and Finance
Currency in Israel is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS). The College does not change money. There are many money changing offices just blocks from the College that use the prevailing rate and do not charge a commission.
The College accepts credit cards but does NOT accept traveller’s checks.
Major credit cards are widely accepted. If you wish to use your credit or debit card to get cash from an ATM, be sure you know your card’s PIN code before you travel, as ATMs require it. Notify your credit card company online or by phone that you will be traveling and name the countries you will be visiting so your card will be accepted. It is advisable to bring more than one credit card in case one does not work in the Middle East.
In addition to credit cards, the College also accepts cash in various currencies as well as personal checks drawn on Australian, Canadian, US and UK banks.
We advise that you exchange some money prior to your arrival to have enough for your transportation to the College. See costs below. Wait until you are settled in Jerusalem to exchange most of your cash, as rates are better.
Transportation from Ben Gurion Airport/Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
As you exit the front of the terminal (outside), walk straight ahead to find the transportation area.
You have three choices, each of which requires you to have cash in either shekels or US dollars.
Tell the driver to take you to St George’s College, Jerusalem (33 Salah El Deen Street). The College phone, as dialed from within Israel, is 02-626-4704.
The College is opposite the Israeli District Court.
An airport shuttle van (called also a shared or service taxi), is called a sherut (sheh-ROOT). The sherut stand is located just outside the terminal building and is clearly marked in English: ‘Service Taxi to Jerusalem’. There is only one sherut company authorized to operate to/from the airport, Nesher (NEH-shair). If in doubt, inquire if the vehicle is Nesher. Once the sherut is filled with passengers, it will drive to Jerusalem, dropping passengers along the way and eventually dropping you off at the College. You pay when exiting the sherut. The price per person is 76 shekels or US$20. Credit cards are not accepted, and you are not expected to tip the driver.
Private taxis are in the same area as the sherut taxis. You should negotiate the price before getting in the taxi and be sure the price includes your luggage. If you are a group of several people travelling together, the price per person may be lower than sherut. Taxi prices vary; expect a bill of at least 250 shekels or US$70, often more.
The rideshare service UBER does not operate with private cars in Israel, but rather connects you with a taxi. At the airport it is best to take a taxi by approaching the taxi stand.
LYFT does not operate in Israel.
The dress code at the College is casual and informal. In the cool and rainy months of winter (November – March), long trousers, long-sleeved shirts and sweaters, a medium-weight outer jacket and rain gear (including an umbrella) are advised. Full-foot shoes with ample footbed and traction for walking on rough terrain and wet, slick stone paving are essential.
In the spring, summer, and autumn months dress should be comfortable and loose, emphasizing natural fibres such as cotton, linen, bamboo, etc. Temperatures in high summer can reach 45C/113F at the Dead Sea, and Jerusalem and Galilee are often in the 30sC/90sF. Spring and autumn months can be lovely or quite hot. Check the Jerusalem weather frequently before your travel and plan your clothing accordingly. (See more below on climate and weather.) Sandals for the warm weather should have a deep footbed and good traction and must have a back strap, e.g. hiking sandals. Flip flops and other shoes without back straps will not be useful except at the College.
Persons on courses that visit a Dead Sea beach should bring water shoes if they desire to float (the Sea is too salty to swim). These should stay on the feet; flip flops will not hold on the foot in the sticky mud of the Dead Sea.
Modest clothing (which refers to coverage, not style) is required for visits to holy places such as churches, convents and monasteries. For men this means full-length trousers; short sleeves are fine. For women, modesty requires that shoulders and arms above the elbow be covered as well as the legs. Both men and women may also wear trousers that come well below the knee but are not ankle-length, such as long capris. A scarf or shawl can be a useful extra modesty item for women if sleeveless blouses are worn. Deep necklines should be avoided.
One site the College regularly visits, requires ultra-modest dress, i.e. women must wear long (ankle length) skirts and have hair fully covered. There is no need to buy or bring a long skirt unless you wish, as one will be provided to put on over long trousers on that visit. A simple scarf can be tied around the head; most hats do not cover the hair completely.
Announcements will be made the day before about the dress required for the next day.
Pilgrims may want some good casual clothes for other social events, including visits to restaurants, etc.
A clerical shirt and collar for clergy are not essential. Some clergy wish to wear clerical clothing for Sunday worship or when presiding at eucharist on sites away from the College, but casual clothing is also appropriate.
Every pilgrim, whether accustomed to wearing hats or not, should bring a wide-brimmed hat/cap and sunglasses. In all but the winter months the sun can be intense and the glare strong. In the winter months a wooly hat and warm/waterproof jacket are advisable.
Internet and Email Access
The College has wireless internet access for course members. Free WiFi is available throughout the College building, and should be available at least in the reception areas of other hotels.
If planning to use a mobile phone, be sure to get an international roaming package from your phone company. A local SIM card can also be purchased, but this will require access to shops away from the Cathedral Close/College.
Climate and Weather
The winter climate in Jerusalem from November through March is wet and chilly. Winter temperatures generally range between 10 – 15 C° during the day and between 5 – 10 C° at night. It occasionally snows in Jerusalem. The summer climate in Jerusalem from May through September is hot and dry. Summer temperatures generally range between 30-35 C° during the day and between 20 – 25 C at night. Temperatures in the Jordan River Valley, including Masada, the Dead Sea and Galilee (Tiberias) are generally 5-10° C warmer year round than in Jerusalem.
Therefore, clothing requirements and preferences vary according to the season.
On all courses, and especially in warmer weather, it is essential that pilgrims stay well hydrated. Bring a favourite water bottle from home or plan to purchase one in Jerusalem to refill through the day.
The housekeeping staff can wash and dry your laundry for you for a small fee, or you may rinse clothes by hand and hang them on clothes lines on the roof of the College. You can purchase laundry detergent in Jerusalem. An iron and ironing board are available at no charge.
Each of the College bedrooms has comfortable beds, wardrobes, bedside tables and lamps, desks and chairs, a sink, a large mirror and a telephone. Each room also has an en suite toilet and shower. The bedrooms, toilets and showers are cleaned every day. Towels and bed linens are changed regularly. Water from taps at the College is potable. For overnight trips away from the College, groups stay at guest houses with similar amenities.
The College has a limited number of single rooms, which are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The single supplement at the College is $25 US per night. Single supplements outside the College range approximately from $25 – $40 US per night.
The electric current in Jerusalem is 220 AC, 50 cycles. All College bathrooms have a wall outlet / converter for shavers only. Outlets in the rooms can be adapted for a 2-pin as well as a 3-pin plug. If you come from the US, you can convert your 110 AC, 60 cycle items by using a transformer. You may need both a transformer to convert the electricity and an adapter plug to fit the outlet. It may be best to bring appliances such as hair dryers and curling irons that are dual-voltage, which will require only an adapter plug. Transformers and adapters are not available at the college. You should purchase them at home or in the airport, or you can purchase them here in Jerusalem after you arrive.
Long distance phone service is available in the College for a charge. The College WIFI supports internet-based calling services such as FaceTime or Skype.
For course members who are 70 years old or older, the College requires a doctor’s certificate stating that they are fit and healthy for the course.
The College Library contains more than 21,000 volumes. The library is available for use during your stay.
Other Items Which May Be Required
Sunscreen with SPF 30 to 45 (waterproof and active/sport is recommended).
Comfortable ear buds (e.g. Apple Earbuds) with a regular 3.5mm plug, as these may be better for some people than the ones provided with the listening system the College uses on sites. People who wear hearing aids find that simple over-the-ear headphones with a 3.5 mm plug work well, allowing the hearing aid to remain in place.
Personal toiletries, essential first aid supplies, bug repellant, loofa, crème or conditioner for dry skin/hair. (Soap, towels, facecloths, toilet paper and bed linens are provided by the College).
Bandaids/plasters, plus some aspirin or acetaminophen (Paracetamol) or ibuprofen for pain; Imodium (or equivalent) medication for diarrhoea symptoms; medication for motion sickness if needed.
An ample supply of any prescription medications. Airlines advise they be transported in their original pharmacy containers with identifying information. Carry these only in hand luggage. Liquid medications in containers greater than 100ml/3 oz. should be accompanied by a doctor’s letter. Most prescription medications are available in Jerusalem, but some cannot be obtained. It is best to bring more than you think you will need.
Medical equipment, e.g. CPAP night breathing machine. If possible, this should be carried in hand luggage and accompanied by a doctor’s letter. Notify the registrar (email@example.com) if you will be bringing any equipment that requires distilled water so it can be obtained prior to your arrival.
Alarm clock (if not using your mobile phone), camera with extra memory cards (if not using your mobile phone), small torch/flashlight (if not using your mobile phone).
If you wish, a small musical instrument. The College has acoustic guitars for your use.
College Contact Information
All mail should be sent Air Mail to:
St. George’s College Jerusalem
Post Office Box 1248
Jerusalem 91000, via Israel
Please send checks by FedEx or bank transfer. Contact the bursar: firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
As mail to and from Jerusalem can take two to three weeks, please do not plan to receive parcels and packages while at the College.