UD Hillel’s very own Julie Meyer is studying abroad this semester in Israel through Tel Aviv’s overseas study program. She has been there since July 30th and by this point feels like a regular citizen. She has immersed herself in the community- she shops at markets, takes the bus, and thanks to the intensive Hebrew learning program, Ulpan, she was required to be a part of, she speaks mostly Hebrew when she is out. Julie thinks it’s been so easy for her to connect with the culture in Israel because, unlike other study abroad programs, there is very little travel involved in this one. From July through January when she comes home, she is considered a citizen of Israel.
Julie has noted a much different college atmosphere in Israel versus the United States. For one, most of the students are older than she is because Israelis are drafted into the army at 18. Because of this, there is more of a focus on vocational training in Israeli schools because they’re all ready to start their lives. She really appreciates how patriotic Israeli students are. They have already done so much for their country and are truly proud to be Israelis.
One thing Julie has become most accustomed to is the much more relaxed Israeli way of living. The city actually shuts down from Friday to Saturday. Time spent with friends and family is always encouraged. She is most impressed with how the country was able to keep its calm during the tumultuous events of the summer, most of which Julie was present for. “Even through conflict, the atmosphere is one of calmness and encouragement. I am so impressed by how hard they work to maintain the Israeli State and make sure it stands tall,” she said. She did feel uneasy at times during the conflict- she even had to run to bomb shelters a few times- but she never felt in danger, in part to their great protection and warning system and also in part to the positive attitude maintained throughout difficult times. One of the most important things Julie will take home with her is the knowledge of how much effort goes into making sure the Israeli state remains- she says they don’t just do it for themselves, they do it for Jewish people around the world, so they always have a place to come home to.
Julie at the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv with a T-Shirt about the Iron Dome
Carly Sylvester is a senior at UD, majoring in Communication and Sociology. Carly is from New Jersey, and some of her favorite hobbies include stalking celebrities on social media and pretending she’s not graduating this spring. She currently serves as the Media Intern at Hillel and is planning on pursuing a career in Public Relations post-grad.