Living the Haifa Life May 28, 2019

By (The College of William and Mary) - abroad from 01/16/2019 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?
I gained more confidence in speaking Arabic, and I learned how to be self-sufficient. I also learned how to use the bus system, which was key in getting around town. It was most definitely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The courses are easy, but seemed unorganized at times. My internship was only 10 hours a week (split between two days), but it was more like 15 due to traveling to get to the office. I think the University should warn students about this beforehand as it took a lot of my time, and I did not realize that the University was on top of a mountain 45 minutes away from anything before signing up for the study abroad program.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

No complaints.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Dirty living conditions, lots of cats that kept me up at night screaming and fighting.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The university does a poor job of integrating international students with local students. A majority of the sites that the university takes the international school on are Jewish sites, and at times I noticed the religious oppression of Arabs and Muslim sites from the comments made by certain Madrachims. I wish the school did a better job with integration.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

I love Haifa, and I chose the area because of the large Arab population (my minor is Middle Eastern Studies). I feel more comfortable in Haifa- Tel Aviv is too much partying for me. Also, as Haifa is a city of coexistence, the bus system was not shut down completely during Shabbat. This was a life saver. It was a great experience, and I am so glad that I was able to partake in it- I learned about the conflict, Druze, Palestinian, and Israeli/Jewish culture.

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)

Not very easy, I lived off of couscous and tuna fish for the past 5 months.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? no

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

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate 202
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? I practiced my Arabic while I was Downtown during the weekends. Do not stay in your room on the weekends/on campus- get out there and talk to new people to practice your language.

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

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Ali
  • International Students
* What could be improved?
  • Bias against Arabs
  • Federman
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That the university is on top of a mountain 45 minutes away from everything, and to have known more in advance that the Arabic Ulpan was canceled. Also, that Shabbat means nothing is open, and it's hard to travel for a day trip to other in areas on Friday/Saturday because of the lack of transportation.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.