University of Haifa International School Student Blog
It is already 30 days that I have been back from my wonderful experience in Haifa, but my heart, I’m afraid, is still there!
I went to Haifa on a scholarship to study at the Intensive Hebrew Ulpan at the University of Haifa and I was there from 8th to 31th August.I come from Italy, therefore I’m Italian, but I’m Israelian too. I travel to Israel every summer because part of my family live there, however, this was the first time I spent time alone in Israel without any friends or relatives.Initially, I thought I would only speak in Hebrew, which I call my “comfort zone”, but I ended up speaking in English with the other students 90% of the time. It was definitely an International School and I met a lot of people from many countries such as Croatia, Switzerland, Spain, Mexico, the USA, Japan, China, Norway, Turkey, Lebanon, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, just to name a few. I spent time with these students in the classroom, in the dorms and also around the campus. Most of the time we would go to the beach together or on a day trip. Spending so much of our days together led us to become a sort of family. I will never forget this group of friends for the rest of my life.
I am still in contact with these friends and we keep in touch almost every day, updating each other about our daily lives, even just for a “שבת שלום”. It’s great to know I now have this big multi-cultural family, whom for sure I will go to visit as soon as I can.
Before this summer course, I didn’t have any problems speaking in Hebrew because my mother has spoken to me in Hebrew since I was a child. What I didn’t know how to do was read very well in capital letters or write in cursive.
For this reason I did a Placement Test. But even so, it wasn’t easy to find the right class for me. Mina Ben Meir and The Ulpan Teachers did a great job with me. For the first few days I was in the beginner’s class in order to learn the alphabet better. Then, on the 3rd day I was moved into a class two levels higher where I studied grammar and learnt how to write.
During the entire month I studied a lot. I did homework in the afternoons, worked on a project with two other classmates (who became friends), and I also studied for a mid-term and final exam. Obviously, everything was in Hebrew!
I still haven’t received the result of my exam, but in any case I certainly learnt a lot and had two terrific teachers: Sara Lee and Ruthy Norani.