Hacking the business field like a Hebrew pro

You got to Israel a few months ago, or maybe more than a couple of years ago. You have learned how to bargain with the sellers at Shuk HaCarmel, and you can give your taxi driver instructions without hesitation. But if your boss asks you to conduct a business meeting, you suddenly feel sick and ask for a Hebrew speaker to take charge.

No more excuses: It’s time you stood up for yourself in those meetings, apply for a different or better job that requires professional Hebrew, and fully immerse yourself in your new homeland. Let’s check out the 10 best places to improve your business Hebrew. We give you options to do it from your own living room or go out into our lovely Telavivian concrete jungle and interact with other people in your situation.

Interactive sessions

The best way to learn a language is to get out of your comfort zone. If you already have a basic knowledge of Hebrew, check out the following three places you can attend. Besides the language skills, they also offer networking opportunities and maybe find that dream job that requires fluent business Hebrew.

FluentTLV — founded by a person who loves languages — divides Hebrew into different levels, giving you the potential to find a local speaker in the same field as yours. Just imagine all the things you could learn. Another good option for networking and practicing Hebrew is Tel Aviv Cool Language Exchange, which holds weekly meetings. After all, in Tel Aviv, it’s all about who you know.

Maybe you don’t have time to attend meetings but would like to have a pen pal. In this case, a good free app is HelloTalk. All you need to do is sign up and start browsing for someone who can help you improve your business Hebrew. In exchange, you can assist that person in English or whatever your native language is.

Online learning

If you’re like me — someone who has no clue how to interact with people and gets flustered when Israelis turn around to see if you can actually speak Hebrew, try out online courses.

One good free option is Duolingo. Offering varying levels in different categories, you need to clear out many of them before reaching the business level — but at least Duolingo offers an owl for motivation.

Maybe you like jotting down random words you learn on the job. But the Post-It notes you write them on disappear somewhere between the office and home. But like with any issue in life, an Israeli has come up with the perfect app: Flash Cards: Study, Memorize, Learn. This free app is ideal for learning professional Hebrew.

There’s also Ivritalk, which — in partnership with The Jerusalem Post — offers online business Hebrew lessons tailored to your specific needs: from high-tech industry to academic structures in Israeli universities and colleges.

Classic classes

Even if you’re shy, you still need actually to practice what you’re learning. Thankfully, Tel Aviv has some of Israel’s best places to hack the business Hebrew your professional life needs.

In just four months, Ulpan Tech can help you build your confidence to work in Hebrew — everything from using a computer and reading business articles to following WhatsApp group chats. Ulpan Tech believes your integration into Israel is through work. For those unable to attend class or to prepare Aliyah, the ulpan offers WebEx video conferencing.

For those seeking a more general improvement in business Hebrew, try Ulpan La-Inyan. Here, you can learn how to lead a project team and give orders like a boss. You can gather friends to sign in together or ask your boss to hire them through the company. Ulpan La-Inya recommends at least three meetings per week, to begin with.

Ulpan Aviv takes a different approach to business immersion by making vocational Hebrew suitable to whatever sector you work in, with custom-designed courses to help you meet your professional goals.

Finally, Ulpan Bayit will teach you to solve problems in Hebrew according to your level — with situations ranging from simulations of company meetings to writing and answering complaint letters. Instructors use university materials, and classes are in Hebrew (though English is allowed if necessary). You need to be 100% focused and active (and to remember this challenge, teachers are learning new languages as well!). They understand that new immigrants face many challenges, including overcoming the anxiety of learning and speaking Hebrew while looking for a job.

Hebrew may be a lovely, exotic language that’s 10 times harder to learn than Spanish, French or Italian — but trust me, if you’re trying, you’re already succeeding. So, stop procrastinating and Yalla Yalla, achi!