University of Haifa International School Student Blog
Happy Diwali and Halloween everyone! This past week has been a great one of relaxation, studying, and getting back into the swing of things. Though I really enjoyed my travels, I’m happy to be back in my own room surrounded by my own mess haha. It also was great reconnecting with everyone in the program and hearing about their adventures. I feel like I now have the lowdown on many interesting places to visit in the future. For those of you interested, some of the places people have visited during the break (besides traveling around Israel!) include Paris, London, Prague, Berlin, Rome, Santorini, Dublin, Budapest, and Petra in Jordan. Again, if you book your ticket far enough in advance, you can find fairly cheap flights to Europe. Before venturing to Europe, however, I recommend traveling around Israel. Despite being a small country, there are many things to see and do. Its size simply makes it more convenient to travel around in!
As a big fan of Halloween, I was a little bit disappointed that it isn’t as prevalent in Israel. However, I’d call my Halloweekend a success, as we managed to find a party complete with guests in costume, metal and rock music, and a great spooky atmosphere. Those of you planning to study at the University of Haifa for a full year or during the Spring will be able to experience Israel’s version of Halloween, Purim. A minor traditional Jewish holiday, Purim has been adopted (like Hanukkah) into a more national holiday. Many festivals and parties with people masquerading in a wild variety of costumes light up the night. I am sad to be missing it!
Since the semester began for the rest of the University of Haifa’s students, as well as international students in the various graduate programs offered, I gained four new roommates this week. One girl, Tegan, is from Vancouver and in the Public Health graduate program. The three other girls are from Israel. Two of the girls are Arab, one self-identifying as Muslim and the other as Christian. As a Religious Studies major, one of the reasons I chose to study at the University of Haifa was its diversity of students and Haifa’s status as a mixed city. In addition to my classes, I feel like studying here allows me to experience religious and cultural diversity outside the classroom. I’ve already had several thought-provoking conversations with my roommate Carol, who is Arab Christian.
Besides my Halloween festivities, the Madrichim put on a fun Israeli cooking event this week. Pulled in by the idea of free food, I attended this event in the Moadon and ended up meeting several new people, and making Israeli salad, falafel with tahini, and mujadara (lentils and rice). Though I feel like I say it in all of my blog posts, I strongly encourage attending all the events organized by the Madrichim. They work very hard on making sure everyone has a great time, and it’s an awesome way to meet more people outside of class.
Anyways, my week was fairly relaxed but the next post I write will take place next weekend during my travels to Dublin, Ireland! I have a friend studying at Trinity College who I can crash with for free (yes!!). Hopefully I’ll be able to get a taste of Irish culture and take lots of cool pictures to post on here!
Atlanta, GA, USA