University of Haifa International School Student Blog
All good things must come to an end is a saying I have heard for years. I do not really like this saying. You hope they will not, but usually they do. January 26th, 2013 I left my home, my family, and my country to come to a new place. With no idea what it would be like or whom I would meet, I traveled to Israel. It felt like I was halfway across the world in a new environment with very little ability to talk to people or understand what was going on. It was one of those situations where you knew it would be awesome eventually, but at first you are terrified.
I have a family here now. I have met people who are from all over the world and I have shared experiences and memories with them. Next week, not being able to walk downstairs to hang out with friends seems bizarre. Knowing that people who are my family now, but were strangers in January, will be thousands of miles (and kilometers) away, is incomprehensible. When will we see each other again? Will we stay in touch? These are all questions you want to know a definitive answer to and cannot.
Looking back, sometimes people ask, would you do it all over again? For me, I will never hesitate when I say, yes. I would be on the next flight to Israel to start this experience all over again. I know it has made me a better person. The past few months have also taught me about dealing with difficult situations, trying new things, and handling yourself when you may feel uncomfortable.
Being uncomfortable is hard for me. I love talking to people and always try to make people feel at ease. Having a decent Hebrew vocabulary, but definitely not being fluent has been a challenge. Yes, many Israelis speak English, but having dinner with all Israelis speaking Hebrew and trying to keep up with the conversation is hard. I learned to not feel uncomfortable and try to participate when I can. I also learned to ask. Sometimes you feel too proud to ask what is going on, but it is one of the best ways to learn. These types of moments taught me more about people and myself than I probably could anywhere else.
Study abroad is an experience that every student should take part in. Sometimes it seems like you do not have time or the money to do it, but it is possible and worth it. The way I look at the world now is completely different than I did five months ago. Not just being a tourist, but living in another country provides you with a different outlook on challenges and situations. Some moments where I would have been stressed out or upset before, do not worry me now. I see them a different way because of experiences I have had here.
Many Israelis have asked me if I enjoyed my time here. I always respond, “I love it here.” I believe that I could have studied at another university, in another country and had fun, but it is not Israel. This country, to me, made the experience. Not just the history or beauty, but the culture and the people. I always feel so welcomed and connected to the people in Israel. So when will I be back? I wish I could say this summer or next year, but I do not know. I have a year left in school and who knows what the future holds. I do know that I will always have a family here in Haifa. No matter how old I am, Haifa will have a place in my heart. Now, I feel like I am leaving my home, my family, and my country all over again and heading to another unknown because all good things must come to an end.
University of Florida ‘14