University of Haifa International School Student Blog
Marketing Coordinator here: As we gear up for another great summer of Hebrew and Arabic Intensive Language Programs, our students are full of excitement and anticipation to see what UHIS has in store for them. One of the students coming for July Hebrew Ulpan will be sharing her experiences with us throughout her journey and here is her introduction prior to next weekend’s arrival:
I am a 22-year-old university graduate from East Europe – Lithuania. Up until I was sixteen I would spend my summers in a village in Sweden and yet I would always consider myself an urban person. Whenever I would hear word “Israel” my only reaction and thought (however primal it sounds) would be silence followed by a puzzled facial expression and a word “war” in an interrogative intonation. I challenged myself to learn as much as possible about the country since I realized that the little knowledge that I had had even less to do with the reality. This influenced me greatly since I consider myself a devoted book warm and I couldn’t cope with the fact that there was something I didn’t know about the world. I felt ashamed and angry with myself so I started reading, googling, and youtubing All changed less than six months ago when my primitive thinking and lack of knowledge was challenged by one single and surprisingly very alive, healthy, and happy person living in Israel.
Out of nowhere and without any meticulous preplanning I bought a ticket to Tel Aviv for the Passover holiday (the only week I could leave my job at school). To prepare, at least a tiny bit, I made Israeli friends online, I participated in forums where I asked all the funny questions about what clothes to wear in April, what shoes to bring, etc. Right before my touristic trip and after spending hours by the computer looking for a program for a non-Jewish person that would allow me to stay in the country for a longer period of time, I sent documents via the Israeli Embassy for Latvia and Lithuania to participate in a competition to get Israel Ministry’s of Foreign Affairs scholarship for summer Ulpan in Haifa University International School.
Not to mention that I had the best time of my life in Israel, some little time after my return I found out that I was granted the scholarship. I was in tears of happiness and I wanted the whole world to know how happy I was.
I enjoyed being a pure tourist, a pretty clueless traveller, but what I aim at now is learning as much as possible about the country and the people and I believe that it is most achievable through learning the language.
This opportunity right after graduating with a degree in English Philology is more than I could have ever imagined. I started learning Hebrew on my own and it was pretty tough because I have to admit at first I did think the language was written in hieroglyphics. Shame on me, but now I am the one that shares the knowledge and enlightens other people with the little that I have to share. Furthermore, what accelerated my will to study the language was the little availability of its lessons in Lithuania. As I consider myself a true linguist – I am eager to experience intensive Hebrew language courses, which concept is new to me.
I understand that what I know is very little but there are so many interested people that I’ve met online that are so eager both to learn and to share their knowledge.
The first time the only cultural shock was not so widely discussed on the internet security checks, but the tolerance and the true act of living. This time I am coming more confident and I am packing my life into one little luggage unbelievably excited. I would describe this feeling as being in love, yet this time I feel this unconditional affection not for a person, but for a country and upcoming experiences. One of those will be such a fun thing like living in dormitories – I haven’t done that before, because I stayed to study in my hometown.
-Bartaute – Daiva Barisauskaite