What is Shnat?
Shnat Hachshara (preparation year) is an intensive 9 month educational, leadership and volunteering course in Israel for school leavers. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience some of the many facets of Israeli society and, coming at a formative time for young person, it is an ideal chance to learn responsibility, resilience and independence.
Shnat is in many ways the ultimate expression of the Hashomer Hatzair ethos, and the culmination of the youth movement process, giving participants a chance to live their Zionism, their Judaism and their belief in Socialism.
Hashy's Shnat program features a range of components, each with their own unique atmosphere and educational aims.
In the first chapter of the year, participants are introduced to Shnat at the AZYC and the Hashy Opening Seminars.
Participants then experience a four month intensive educational program at HaMachon Le’Madrichei Chutz Le’Aretz (The Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad), known simply as Machon, with fellow Shnat participants from Zionist youth movements from Australia and around the world.
During the Machon period, participants take part in HaMasa Le Polin (journey to Poland) with fellow Shnat participants from Hashy around the world. This trip is educationally-focused, led by expert guides. Participants also partake in a preparatory seminar in the lead up to the trip.
Following this, participants live together in a communa, learning to live responsibly, independently, and most importantly, communally with their kvutza. During this period, participants volunteer with underprivileged communities, experiencing meaningful encounters with Israeli society.
The final chapter of the Shnat program is a stay on kibbutz Gan Shmuel. The three month curriculum – a mix of informal and formal education on Hashy themes, as well as working within the Kibbutz multiple times a week – is designed to give both a theoretical and practical understanding of kibbutz life and the movement's ideology. This component is shared with other participants of Hashy Shnat from around the world.