University of Haifa International School Student Blog
An eventful Thanksgiving
This past weekend was one full of unexpected events, reminders, and gratitude. On Thursday’s early afternoon, the university was evacuated due to fires down Mt Carmel. After we packed, we got on buses that took us down to a community center in Haifa. For many of us it was our first evacuation therefore we didn’t know what exactly to expect. When we got to the community center, the staff there received us gave us instruction on what to do. We would be spending the night there and would be returning to the university once the notification of being allowed to go back was given. Our international school staff did an outstanding job with conduct and keeping us all informed. They even surprised us since the dinner that they planned for us at the university was coming to us at the community center. It was so nice and I really can’t explain how I felt at the moment, I was just very grateful. I enjoyed spending time with my international family since that night after dinner we had a movie, karaoke, and just sat around talking with one another. We made the best out of the situation. After our night at the community center, we were given breakfast first thing in the morning with some morning salsa dancing and then given further instructions for the day. We would be leaving the community center and go to Rehovot a city south of Tel Aviv; where the Weizmann Institute’s International School would be hosting us. When we arrived there, the staff gave us such a warm welcome and already had lunch prepared as soon as we got there. I was amazed at the hospitality and treatment we kept receiving. We were then given keys and also money to buy food for ourselves. After we had settled in in our dorms, each student received a contact where they would be hosting dinner for us that evening. I was paired up with a couple that when I met in person found out they were my neighbors from where I was staying at the Institute. I was so lucky to be paired with them because they were from Mexico and they had Tamales which is a common dish during the holidays. It was amazing and my friend and I were so grateful because they said that they felt like our parents and as we left they packed us a mini lunch with fruit and snacks and welcomed us back whenever we needed it. After our dinner with our host that night, I walked back with my friend to the dorms and we kept talking about how this experience is really one for the books; and, that we could not complain about anything we were so well maintained from the time of evacuation. After spending the night talking and walking around the campus and exploring, we headed back to our rooms to sleep. In the morning, my friend that stayed in the dorm with me accompanied me to have breakfast with my host from the dinner. It was but yet again another delicious meal. After breakfast we walked around the beautiful campus and we decided to go swimming in the pool (which the Institute gave the students access too along with the gym) and after that we went in a group to have a late lunch in the city, and we received a notification that we would be returning that night after our dinner. So, we went to pack our stuff and returned to the dorms for a meeting, and ate dinner sponsored by the Institute. We returned to Haifa that night. I was still at that point beyond grateful for everything. Since the time of the evacuation, I and the international school did not pose any danger. The whole time I saw that our international school staff was present -even with their families, from being at the community center, to being at the Weizmann Institute, and until we all arrived back at the University of Haifa. The hospitality that we received form the community center, Institute, and dinner host was very much appreciated. I honestly can’t not complain at all and I do feel that I did not deserve so much since we were okay the whole time. However, I am grateful for this experience, for such amazing people, and it did remind me that we must always help one another, cherish every moment we live, and stick together because Unions is power. Thank you once again to the International School staff for everything, we all appreciate it more than a lot!