Israel: Great People, Not an Easy Place to Live Past Review

By (public health, Sarah Lawrence College) for

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Rothberg International School: DanceJerusalem

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Though I wasn't particularly happy while I was abroad, I learned invaluable lessons about how cruel people can be. I also met friends who were learning the same lesson alongside me, and I am so grateful that I had them through this experience. There are things I would have done differently if I could do it all over again, but I wouldn't trade these lessons for the world. I also gained a deep understanding of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East by meeting the people who are involved with them, and I don't think I could ever understand the way I do now just by studying the conflicts or reading about them in the news.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I had an enormous educational experience from living in Israel and interacting with my fellow abroad students as well as Israelis and other local groups. Most of the teachers, however, were uninspiring and seemed bored with their jobs. The workload and grading system were fair, though the teaching methods were sometimes misogynistic and favored some students over others. Some teachers said or did things that would have never been acceptable in a U.S. educational system, and the administrative staff was never introduced to the students.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program director was unfair, inappropriate, and out of line with the things he said much of the time. We were not aware of a higher up to whom we could speak about issues we had with him. We were introduced to several higher ups on the last day of the program for the first time. The best we could do was to speak with an administrator at the University who was in a sort of parallel position to him.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

The best falafel is right around the corner from the Hebrew University student village at Mount Scopus. I'm blanking on what it's called, but it's cheap and delicious! There's a chain called Burger Bar which really isn't any good...the "burgers" are like sausage patties.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Trip to the Dead Sea Free dinners

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The university required all students to carry cell phones that were sent automated safety alerts from the university. Given the unsteady political climate in the area, we really heeded these warnings. They also strongly discouraged us from visiting the Palestinian territories since if we wondered into certain parts, the Israeli government would not be able to protect us.

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


* 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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

Most people did speak English, but I tried to speak Hebrew as much as possible when navigating the city, etc. I did need to use it every day to do things such as read labels in the grocery store and respond to simple things when I was spoken to in Hebrew.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans