University of Haifa International School Student Blog
By the time we reach college, we have spent approximately 2,340, or 35% of our total days on Earth at school. Considering how much of what we learn happens through experiences outside the classroom, that’s a lot. Ideally, though, field trips represent the best of both types of learning. They allow a class to move outside the structured classroom and learn together about a significant place or event in a new setting.
Studying abroad, then, is like one big field trip.
We learn together through exposure to new languages, people, and places. The experiential learning that happens outside the classroom enters the classroom, as we study the languages we hear, the places in which we live, and the cultures of the people we meet. The idea is to use both types of learning to develop a deeper perspective of both ourselves and our surroundings.
But, what’s even better than just studying abroad, is going on field trips while studying abroad. I dsicovered the value of feild trips on my trips to Eilat, Jerusalem, and the Golan, as well as the field trips I took with with my Social History of Israel class. For this class, we went to the Osem factory (yes, it was awesome,) a Kibbutz, a developing city called Yoqneam, and we visited the Atlit detention camp, where soldiers from the British Mandate detained Jewish immigrants. These are just some of the many field trip opportunities the UHaifa International School offers.
I am not the onlyone who has gained something from field trips while studying abroad. Jessie Brecher, a UHaifa Interntional School student, recently posted in her blog about her class time outside the classroom. Here’s a section of a blog post by Jessie that shows what “experiential learning” is all about:
Last Wednesday I had my Management and Organizational Theory class, but instead of the normal classroom, our professor took us all out to a really nice lunch at The Duke, the Irish pub in Haifa. It was delicious and so nice of her to take us out. It led me to start thinking about how I really am not disappointed by any of my professors here at the university, which is something I’ve never really experienced.
Sunday morning we had to get up early to meet some of the International School in Tel Aviv for a field trip for our Cleavages in Israel class. We started at the Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Crisis Center, where we learned what services they provide to sexually abused women and men. Our next stop was the Parents Circle Families Forum for bereaved families (Israeli and Palestinian), who have lost a loved one because of the conflict. This related back to our last class where we heard from three fathers who each lost a child to a suicide bombing on the 37 bus in Haifa in 2003. We listened to a friend of Professor Kaufman, who had lost his son during his military service. It was heartbreaking because his son was a huge proponent of peace and died believing that there was a chance for peace.
Beautiful VIew from the Peres Center for Peace
We then went to the Shimon Center for Peace, which is a beautiful new building right on the Jaffa port. The views were incredible and they do incredible work at the organization. One project brings Israeli and Palestinian kids together to play soccer, basketball and other sports. It showed me that peace here needs to start in a grassroots way and hopefully one day it will grow, and that’s the hope of this organization. Our final stop was a place called Merchavim, where they focus on education as a way to teach children, Israeli and Arab-Israeli, about diversity. This is again another way to teach children not to hate the other side from a young age, which I think is extremely important. Sunday was a long day filled with heavy content, but I found all of our stops to be very interesting.
The start of this week has been filled with lots of work and last night we had an Israeli Jam Session, which was filled with music and brought me back to Lower Moreland’s Java Jam. I’m trying to get ahead on my work, as Friday starts our Passover break, and we’ll be on vacation until May 2nd, which is incredible. I’m going to be spending time in Israel and then in exactly one week I’ll be heading to Greece, which I’m sure I’ll talk much more about in posts to come!
To read Jessie’s full post, click here.