University of Haifa International School Student Blog
After nearly five months here in Haifa, it was so great to see so many familiar faces from home and to once again be surrounded by fellow Gators. University of Florida brought three- yes three- Birthright buses here to Haifa, a city that many trips don’t get the pleasure of visiting. The trip came to the University of Haifa specifically because University of Florida has an amazing study abroad program in connection with University of Haifa. So in addition to seeing some of my really good friends and staff from Hillel, they had the opportunity to see what life is like here on campus and get a feel for what it would be like to study abroad in Israel.
The Birthright participants got the chance to ask us international students questions about the UF program and Israel in general and even got to speak with some Israeli students about anything they were interested in. When my Jewish Education in North America teacher heard I was skipping class to be with the Birthright group, he apparently became very excited and immediately had one of my friends call me and ask to speak with the group about their experience in Israel (all six hours of it since they had only just arrived that morning at 6am). So, after bringing the whole class along and completely embarrassing me for not being in class (yes, this happened), our teacher spoke with the Birthright group and had the students in the class talk with the Birthright kids about Israel and education over lunch. I think they might have been a little shell-shocked to have been (gently) accosted by my teacher while they were still exhausted from the flight and adjusting to Israel.
After a tour around campus, seeing the view of Haifa from Eshkol Tower, lunch, and several Gator Chomp pictures (very necessary for any traveling Gator), I think each Birthright group was able to see a different part of Israel that many Birthright groups don’t get to chance see-Israeli university life. It was so fun to share my incredible experiences here in Haifa with my University of Florida friends and hopefully their visit inspired them to come spend a semester here as well!
Go Gators! – Pammie Shapiro