University of Haifa International School Student Blog
Right before you leave for your study abroad trip, everyone will ask you this one question repeatedly: “Are you excited to go abroad?!”.
To which I wanted to say, duh, of course I am, I’ve waited my entire life for this! However, amid all of the excitement of studying in a new country and being thrown into an entirely new environment, there is also a lot of anxiety and worry. To be honest, before I left for Israel I was nervous; not due to the perceived danger of being in Israel (Haifa is very safe by the way, distanced from the conflict, and is a very peaceful and diverse city to be studying in), or anything like that.
I was nervous because this was going to be a whole new experience for me. I had never been to Israel before, let alone anywhere in the Middle East. I do not speak any Hebrew or Arabic, which are both widely spoken here. I don’t particularly like flying. I wasn’t really going to know anyone at the University of Haifa. Plus, I would be leaving behind my loving friends and family back in Minnesota for a significant amount of time. These are all nerve wracking things!
I did find though, almost from the moment I arrived, that all of these worries were dissipated due to the hospitality of everyone I have met in Israel and how welcoming this whole experience has been thus far. In a place so far from my home, it feels indescribable to officially feel at home here. (I’ve even started to learn these Haifa bus routes!)
The first couple of weeks at the University of Haifa have been jam packed with meeting new people from all over the globe, traveling all over the city and exploring Israel, and of course, taking actual courses. I hope future weeks remain just as busy, and that I get to more fully experience life abroad in Israel!