Sababa May 28, 2019

By (University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh) - abroad from 01/20/2019 to 05/30/2019 with

University of Haifa: Study Abroad at Haifa International School

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Exposure to a very wide array of viewpoints encouraged me to approach every issue with an open mind and to consider points of view that I may not have even been aware existed.

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.

Course content is good, but rigor/expectations tend to be slightly on the lower end. Professors were available and very engaged in their course material.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Great office staff, super friendly and helpful. Can sometimes be a bit disorganized or delayed responding to emails, but a fantastic in-person resource.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Dorms were dirty, but the ability to live with local and international students was a very valuable experience

* Food:

No on-campus meal plans offered, so students cook in their dorm kitchens. Cost of living in Israel is high, but it's not too awful if you're conciencious of how you're shopping & do most eating at home. Israel is SUPER accommodating to dietary restrictions (gluten free, dairy free, etc.) The only allergy you may have a problem with is peanuts (because that generally doesn't even exist in Israel)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living with local students was helpful, but I wish there had been more active efforts by the program staff to integrate international students with the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There's a health clinic on campus that's easy to access, helpful, and free with your Israeli student insurance. The only difficult part is the hours can be a bit restrictive (if you need to get help on Shabbat you'll have to find an open clinic, which can be a bit far.)

* Safety:

I feel so much safer in general in Israel than I do in the States. There is security everywhere, and although guards (especially on campus) can be a bit lackadaisical, the culture is one where everyone is very helpful, and if anything ever appeared unsafe, a bunch of strangers were ready to jump in and help.

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

Haifa, especially the university, is very diverse, which provides very valuable perspectives into complex and multifaceted issues.

Finances

* 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)

Cost of living is MUCH higher in Israel, but it's do-able on a low budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $45
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I definitely spent more per week on groceries than in the States, but if you are cooking in more than going out, it won't be too bad.

Language

* 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

There was no need to use the language if you didn't want to, especially on campus, but when you left campus there were more opportunities to practice, as well as speaking with flatmates that were local, native speakers.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate

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

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • relevant course content to life in Israel
  • knowledgeable professors
  • diverse student body
* What could be improved?
  • integration with local culture
  • more trips and excursions to sites around the country
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The university is not in the center of the city, so be prepared to spend more of your time on campus, or be taking a longer bus ride to get places.

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!