Gaga changed my life. Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/17/2016 to 06/22/2016 with

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Rothberg International School: DanceJerusalem

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile? much. I cannot put it into words just yet.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

This rating is tricky because the highs were incredibly high, but the lows were incredibly low. Highs included incredible dance professors, Hebrew Ulpan Professors, access to professional dance companies, weekend workshops, and a brilliant dance history guru. Lows included social isolation, university fabricated experiences, lack of studio space, lack of flexibility in the Hebrew department, and living quarters.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The roommate pairing worked really well for my four roommates and me. Other than this, the housing was a disaster. Every year, residents must purchase new kitchen equipment, cleaning supplies, etc. This adds up to an incredibly high and unexpected upfront cost as well as a disrespectful waste of supplies at the end of the year when students are moving out and are forced to throw away or give away all of the items accumulated throughout the year. The village is often littered with trash and other residents leave trash in the hallways and elevators to infuse the atmosphere with an retched smell. The village is also incredibly far away from any social life one might have in Jerusalem which makes meeting the local population difficult. The isolation especially became a problem on Shabbat when all public transportation shut down. It was at least an hour walk to anywhere I would consider happy and vibrant. These barriers often led to sluggishness and gloom. The housing was the most frustrating and difficult experience I had during my experience here.

* Food:

We had to provide our own food, and I cook well.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I really had to go out of my way to experience anything Israeli that was not a safe fabrication of the university. I feel that many students did not get a grasp of what it means to be Israeli let alone Palestinian. There is never any reference to Palestinian culture, and I think this was an intentional choice by the university. The Palestinian conflict does not fit into the rose colored fabricated ideal of Israel that the university promotes. Also frustrating. Luckily my language skills and friends pulled me out into the real world.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Maybe too safe...

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

There is no other place on earth where I could have the experience of intensely studying Gaga. I would do this program again if the only redeeming quality were my studies in Gaga.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

You can survive on $75 per week for food and transportation, even a dance performance or two. Food is relatively cheap if you know where to look.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $75-100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Shop at the Arab market next to Damascus gate. This will be your number one money saver. Ask Deb for discount codes to get cheaper tickets. Get a Rav- Qav immediately!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

The only class taught in Hebrew was Hebrew. Every other class was shared between English and Hebrew. Immersion was not encouraged.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Hebrew 310
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Hebrew Language School

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Gaga
  • Accessibility to Dance
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • Housing
  • Political Reality
  • Local Immersion
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would have changed my housing situation. I would have tried to live in an apartment closer to the center of the city.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Noa Tzuk Repertoire

Course Department: Dance
Instructor: Noa Tzuk
Instruction Language: English/Hebrew
Comments: This was my favorite course during the semester and one of the best in my life. The class is split between studying Gaga and learning repertoire. Noa holds each student account to her standards of excellence, and this mentality drives the entire class forward. Each and every individual grew ten fold throughout the semester. I am proud of my success and the group's. Truly unforgettable. I am forever in gratitude.
Credit Transfer Issues: Sorry, I cannot confirm how this course will transfer, but I assume it will be an art elective.