Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Bethsaida - Excavations Project

International Experience: Israel

Faculty of Arts and Education

School Of Theology

Theology Holy Land Study Tour

Proposed 2017 program

CamelsThis course of biblical archaeology fieldwork takes place at the archaeological site of Bethsaida in Israel and introduces students to elementary tenets of biblical fieldwork archaeology. The two weeks on site at Bethsaida are supplemented by an additional week visiting selected sites in Israel, including museums and religious sites. Exact details of the itinerary vary from year to year, depending on various factors.

Students can nominate to undertake just Program I or can nominate to include Program II as well.

Travelling to Israel and Jordan as part of my BTH [Bachelor of Theology] studies was a dream come true.  No amount of distance studies could replace first-hand exposure to the rich history and vibrant culture of these countries.  The opportunity to meaningfully engage with local Jews, Arab Christians and Muslims was incredibly enriching and enjoyable as was being fully immersed in the Bethsaida archaeological excavations.  Whether hauling rocks from iron-age tunnels, kayaking down the Jordan river or overlooking the promised land on Mt. Nebo, this trip daily exceeded my expectations and provided memories and friendships that will remain for a long time to come. Steve Parker-Hill, 2016 program participant

Program I: SGC Bible and Archaeology Course (21 days)

Bethsaida DigThe 2017 program is hosted by St George's College (SGC) in Jerusalem. It begins in the Galilee with two weeks working as volunteers on the Bethsaida archaeology project, while based at the Ginosar vacation village on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Mornings are spent on site, with late afternoon sessions devoted to pottery reading. Most weekday evenings there will also be lectures by specialists associated with the Bethsaida dig. Halfway through the two weeks will be a weekend opportunity to visit selected sites in northern Israel.

Following the conclusion of the two weeks on the dig, the course will spend three nights based in Nazareth with an opportunity to visit selected archaeological sites in Nazareth and nearby areas, before moving to the St George's College campus in Jerusalem for the final few nights.

Program II: SGC Jordan Study Tour (5 days) (optional add-on program)

CSU students who take the Bible and Archaeology course may also choose to add the optional 5-day study tour to Jordan.  During this period you'll visit selected sites in Jerusalem, on the West Bank, and in southern Israel. There will also be opportunities for guided tours of significant exhibitions such as the Israel Museum, the Islamic Museum, and the Rockefeller Museum.

The program leader will be Dr Gregory Jenks, Senior Lecturer, School of Theology and Dean of St George's College, Jerusalem. Dr Jenks has extensive experience at both Bethsaida and St George's College, having served as a co-director of the Bethsaida dig since 2010.


  • Program I: 18 June - 7 July 2017 - Bible and Archaeology Course
  • Program II:10 July - 14 July 2017 - Jordan Study Tour (This tour can be taken as a stand alone trip, but only by booking directly with St George's College)

Street SceneEligibility: Students who will be enrolled in a CSU Theology course at the time of undertaking the program. 

Academic Information: Students may be eligible to receive academic recognition for an 8 point CSU subject THL361 - Theology International Study Experience for their participation in this program. This will require payment of a subject tuition fee, active participation in all aspects of the tour and a short paper (c. 2,000 words) describing the development of a particular locus at the site. Students must liaise directly with their Course Director for approval to include this subject in their course structure and should do so prior to applying for this program.

Financial Assistance: The advertised program cost for undergraduate students is based on the provision of the $500 Vice Chancellor Travel Grant. Eligibility is restricted to CSU students enrolled in an Undergraduate degree and receiving academic recognition for their participation in the program. This Grant is not paid directly to students but has already been deducted from the advertised program cost.

Students may also be eligible to receive financial assistance through the Australian Government's OS-HELP loan. OS-HELP is a loan available to eligible Commonwealth Supported students who want to undertake some of their study overseas. OS-HELP can be used for a range of expenses such as airfares, accommodation, and other travel or study expenses. 

Eligibility for OS-HELP will be assessed once successful students are selected and is based on a number of criteria.  Acceptance into a CSU Global program does not guarantee eligibility for the loan. Please note, you cannot pay your program deposit through OS-HELP.

All funding associated with CSU Global programs (travel grants, scholarships, subsidies and loans) is linked to successful completion of academic and program expectations. Failure to meet these requirements may result in funding being revoked.

Refer to CSU Global's Scholarships and Funding webpage for further information on financial assistance. 

Number of Places: 25

Cost for CSU students: exact costs to be confirmed on notification of successful application

  • Program I: Bible and Archaeology Course - approximately AUD$9400
  • Program I and II: Bible and Archaeology Course and Jordan Study Tour - approximately AUD$10900

Costs should include: In-country program fee, international airfares, travel insurance, airport transfers, accommodation (twin-share), most meals, local transport during program, and entry to all sites included in the tour itinerary.

Costs do not include: CSU Subject fee, visas, passports, immunisations (where required), additional meals, recreational activities, souvenirs, gratuities and incidentals.

Please note: This is a group ticketed program. All participants will depart from a predetermined Australian International Airport and return to the same port on dates advised by CSU Global.

Application Timeline: continue to the bottom of the page for application link

  • Application closing date: applications closed
  • Successful students notified (email): within two weeks of application closing date
  • $2000 non-refundable deposit due: within two weeks of notification of successful application
    (You MUST have applied for or obtained your passport by this date. Please note it may take 3-4 weeks to obtain a passport)
  • Full and final payment due: 15 May 2017
  • Pre-departure session: to be advised

Further enquiries regarding the application process should be directed to: 

Alice Wood
CSU Global   
Charles Sturt University
Building 1395
Bathurst, NSW 2795
Phone: + 61 2 6338 4068

Further enquiries regarding the academic content of the program should be directed to: 

Jeanette Mathews
Lecturer in Theology and Old Testament
School of Theology
Phone: + 61 2 6272 6249

2017 Draft Program Outline: Subject to change

17 June0Depart Australia for Tel Aviv 
18 June1AM: Arrive Tel Aviv
PM: Transfer to Ginosar/Orientation to Kibbutz
Galilee, Israel
19 June2AM: Two week archaeology dig commences with orientation
PM: visit to Museum Laboratory/free evening
Galilee, Israel
20 June3Day 2 on digGalilee, Israel
21 June4Day 3 on digGalilee, Israel
22 June5Day 4 on digGalilee, Israel
23 June6Day 5 on digGalilee, Israel
24 June7

AM:Visit selected lakeside holy places/Banias and Tel Aviv
PM:free evening

Galilee, Israel
25 June8

AM: Worship at St Luke's, Haifa
PM: Lunch and swim at Haifa/Megiddo/dinner at Ginosar

Galilee, Israel
26 June9Day 6 on digGalilee, Israel
27 June10Day 7 on digGalilee, Israel
28 June11Day 8 on digGalilee, Israel
29 June12Day 9 on digGalilee, Israel
30 June13AM: Final day on dig
PM: Visit to Hazor
Galilee, Israel
1 July14AM: Transfer to Nazareth for three night stay
PM: free time
Galilee, Israel
2 July15AM: Worship at Christ Church Nazareth
PM: Visit Sepphoris/free evening
Galilee, Israel
3 July16Visit Basilica of the Annunciation/Sisters of Nazareth/Synagogue Church/Holy Cave/St Gabriel's Church/Mary's Well/Mt PrecipiceGalilee, Israel
4 July17

AM: Depart Nazareth for Jerusalem - visiting Mt Tabor and Beth Shean en route
PM: Check-in at St Georges College late afternoon

Galilee / Jerusalem
5 July18Jerusalem: City of David ExcavationsJerusalem
6 July19Jerusalem: Haram as-Sharif and the OphelJerusalem
7 July20Masada, Qumran and Jericho Jerusalem
8 July21Israel Museum and the Holy Land Museum - Program I concludes Jerusalem
9 July22Program II commences
Free Day
Optional visits to Israel Museum and/or Bible Land Museum
10 July


Free Day
Optional worship at St George's Cathedral in morning and afternoon visit to Yad Vashem Holocuast Museum
11 July24AM: Cross into Jordan, visit Baptism site at Bethany-Beyond-Jordan/Mt Nebo and Madaba enr route to Petra
PM: Evening in Petra
12 July25AM:Visit to Petra World Heritage part then depart for Wadi Rum
PM: Overnight in tents at Wadi Rum campsite
Petra/Wadi Rum
13 July26AM: Explore Wadi Rum wilderness area then depart for Amman
PM: Overnight in Amman
Wadi Rum/Amman
14 July 27AM: Gerash archaelology park
PM: Free time 
15 July28AM: Visit Hellenistic and Roman ruins
PM: Program II concludes. Participants depart for home from either Amman or Jerusalem (TBC)