Of the many ways to learn Hebrew, one of the best is by learning in an ulpan, which is an intensive Hebrew course where only Hebrew is spoken. Ulpans (or ulpanim in Hebrew), are generally available at no cost for those who choose to move to Israel and become citizens. There are various types of ulpanim, including an absorption center ulpan, kibbutz ulpan, community ulpan and army ulpan. Each of these are suitable for different types or groups of people depending on age, interests and plans for the future. For those interested in learning in an ulpan, it is very important to understand the benefits and differences of these different types.
Kibbutz ulpan is suitable primarily for young people who are interested in working outdoors and perhaps learning a skill as they learn Hebrew. While the programs work differently depending on the kibbutz, they generally all follow a basic schedule where part of the time the participants work on the kibbutz and part of the time they learn Hebrew in ulpan. This breakdown varies, as in some places the participants study Hebrew in the morning and work in the afternoon, while in others they may work in the morning before it gets too hot and then learn Hebrew in the afternoons. Some kibbutzim have participants work some full days and learn Hebrew the other days, such that the week is divided evenly.
Kibbutz ulpan is also available for short-term programs. Many tourists particularly from Europe, and especially Scandinavia come to Israel in order to volunteer on a kibbutz and often do an ulpan, as well. Kibbutz ulpan is a popular option for those wanting to learn Hebrew, as it gives them a chance to work outside, be in a social atmosphere with other participants in their program, and learn Hebrew at a very high level all at the same time!