University of Haifa International School Student Blog
Hi everybody! I am currently writing this blog on my flight from Tel Aviv to Prague. It’s been a long day of traveling, but with luckily no mishaps. Even though I had already checked in online and was only carrying hand luggage, I arrived at Ben Gurion about three hours early. Security wasn’t too bad, but I think they had more questions for me once they realized I’d traveled to Jordan. Though all the security is a big hassle, it does make me feel safer (and critique the efficiency TSA in the U.S!). At the gate they told me my suitcase wouldn’t fit in the overhead bins on the plane (I was sure it would) and told me to hand it to the guys at the plane to put it in the underbelly. I (of course) ignored this advice and acted out a tiny rebellion by taking my bag on the plane and easily fitting it in one of the overhead bags. This act was a bit terrifying, but I live in fear of losing my bags while traveling.
Because of the holidays, this past week was more relaxed than the first week of classes. The “new” kids, or people who weren’t here for the Ulpan, seem like a really cool, enthusiastic, and outgoing group so far. I’ve managed to have some great conversations with quite a few people and look forward to bettering those relationships throughout the semester. Last Shabbat, I went on quite the adventure with some new friends. We wanted to go to the beach at Hof HaCarmel, but the busses were limited because of Shabbat. Therefore, it was going to take us over an hour to get there. For some reason, we deluded ourselves into thinking that we could take one bus halfway and then walk the rest of the way there. It was downhill, right? No problem, right? This ended up being a grave miscalculation. We got a bit lost and then ended up hiking directly down the steep slope of the mountain to an even steeper staircase that seemed like it had been there for centuries. By the time we got to the beach (over an hour later—we could’ve just taken the busses!), we were extremely hot, sweaty, and thirsty. Luckily we found refuge swimming in the Mediterranean, napping in the shade, and sipping cool drinks. I guess the lesson here is that it’s not always better to walk!
This past Shabbat was our catered International School Shabbat Dinner. If you study here next semester or Ulpan, I would definitely recommend signing up for it. It’s a fun way to learn a little bit about the ritual of Shabbat, meet the people sitting around you, and last but not least enjoy delicious free catered food.
If you come to study at the University of Haifa and cannot stay an entire year, I suggest studying here during the fall semester. I’m not sure what the schedule is like in the Spring, but the Fall begins with around two and a half weeks of Jewish holidays after the first week of classes. This is really wonderful because in addition to an awesome academic semester at the University, you can take advantage of those weeks to travel around Israel or abroad (like I’m doing know!). Israel is located conveniently close to Europe, and most flights are quite affordable. My next blog post will detail my adventures as a University of Haifa International School student in Prague, and hopefully I’ll have taken some cool pictures to go with it. Also, I will be posting snap chats to the International School’s snap chat account, if you want to keep up with my abroad adventures there.
P.S. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos this week, but attached are some more shots from my time in Israel when my family visited.
Atlanta, GA, USA