University of Haifa International School Student Blog
When searching for summer programs in Israel I had something very specific in mind; an intensive Ulpan that would give me the resources I need to expand my knowledge of the Hebrew language.
It all began with a placement exam on the first day of class. As I flipped through a booklet full of words I didn’t know and instructions I couldn’t understand, I felt overwhelmed and uncertain of my abilities. I’d only developed a passion for the Hebrew language recently and had not taken a formal Hebrew class in over four years, but I knew that this Ulpan would not be like the average Jewish Day School courses I’d been accustomed to. As soon as the introductions were made and room assignments were given, class began and the use of English ended. Aside from the occasional translation or explanation, our classes fluidly moved along in Hebrew and I picked up words constantly from a steady stream of context clues and detailed examples. Aiding this process was the fact that I was surrounded by likeminded students who’d travelled from an unbelievably diverse array of countries and fostered a climate in which dialogue in Hebrew flourished. For some, this Ulpan is a way to connect to the Israeli culture and Jewish religion through language. For others, it is an opportunity to better understand what makes Israel so special and exceptional as a high-tech hub. For me, this Ulpan serves as my way of experiencing life in Israel in the most authentic way possible available to me at this point in my life. As I near the end of my time in Haifa, I have cultivated both a stronger cultural connection to Israel and passion for the Hebrew language. Plus, I’ve developed an insatiable appetite for hummus.