Every Student Has A Story

University of Haifa International School Student Blog

Israeli Weekends

So, the weeks here in Israel are different from the weeks in the United States. There are still 7 days, that’s not what I mean, but the weekend and Sabbath Day are different. The Sabbath Day (Shabbat/שבת) is the day that God designated for rest and observance after creating the Earth. There is a little Biblical History for you. The difference being that it is on Saturday, not Sunday like in the United States. Second difference, which I have talked about before, is that Hebrew days begin the previous night so Shabbat officially goes from Friday night until Saturday night (which is a new day).  Also, most places are closed and do not operate on Shabbat. With that being said, the International School at the University of Haifa counts both so we get the Israeli weekend (Friday and Saturday) and regular weekend (Saturday and Sunday) combined. That was a long way of explaining that we have three day weekends every weekend (which is nice) and when a class is cancelled you have even more days. I and a few classmates used our most recent 4 day weekend to fly over to Istanbul, Turkey. It was an incredible experience and I have realized how fortunate to be able to travel so much while I’ve been in Israel. We got very lucky to find a very inexpensive hostel and airfare. I was super excited to explore and learn about the city! We got to visit the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, and so many other places. It was amazing to see so much history in one city while at the same time seeing so much modernity. That’s one of the things I’ve noticed in Israel. I can walk down a street and see a building that has been there for centuries and walk a little further and see a high-rise building on the same street. The food was also just incredibly delicious! I don’t think I had a bad meal while I was there. There was the baked potato like meal called Kumpir that I got with chicken, cheese, and veggies. I highly recommend it! Also when my group went out to dinner together we all shared rice and something called Testy Kebab which had either chicken or lamb cooked with vegetables inside this clay pot that they had in flames right in front of you. We also got to take a boat tour of the Bosphorus Strait which was really fun. The weekend felt very short and very long all at the same time, but that was probably because we tried to spend as much time outside of the hostel seeing new places around the city. The Bazaar was also one interesting experience. Haggling over the price of some tea, Turkish Delight, or a souvenir to take home to your family was definitely worth doing and so was seeing the enormity of the Bazaar. We finally got back around midnight on Tuesday morning to Tel Aviv and took the first train back to Haifa to get to classes on time. I am so happy that Tuesday is my light day of classes (only Hebrew) because I don’t sleep well on trains or planes so I needed to catch up on some rest. I’ll be back soon! Hope everyone is well. – Pedro


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Marketing Director for the University of Haifa International School. Offering students from over 40 countries around the world an academic summer,semester or yearlong opportunity in Haifa!

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