Ottawa Jewish Bulletin Article “Semester At Hebrew University: An Experience I Will Never Forget”

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Ottawa Jewish Bulletin article - Semester at Hebrew U


Four months in Israel! What could be better than that? I’ve been very fortunate to be at the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for an academic exchange from McGill. I’ve met wonderful people from around the world, visited with family and friends, travelled around the country, and learned a lot in the Ulpan and other courses at Hebrew University. It’s truly been an eye-opening, fun and overall incredible experience.

Coming to Jerusalem in January, I knew only two people. I was a little nervous but extremely excited as I was looking forward to meeting other students and experiencing what it’s like to actually live in Israel.

Since my time at Hillel Academy, Torah High and Machzikei Hadas, my love for and connection to Israel, Judaism and the Hebrew language have strengthened immensely! Hearing Hebrew spoken everywhere, having the choice to eat in so many kosher restaurants and seeing and living history has just been the best!

Among the highlights of my time in Jerusalem has been spending time at the Kotel, in the Old City and at the Shuk, whether alone or with friends. I don’t take it for granted that I could visit the Kotel whenever I want, or hang out in the Old City after class.

The Shuk is an amazing experience on its own. For anyone who has been there, you know there is nothing like it: the people, the pushing, the yelling and the smells and tastes of the delicious spices, fruits, vegetables, cheese, breads. I just hop on the light rail and get there in 15 minutes.

Prior to offi cially starting the semester at Hebrew University, we took an Ulpan course where we listened to and sang Israeli songs, played games in Hebrew and made presentations, with the goal of improving our conversational Hebrew.

My four courses – all except Hebrew language are taught in English – have been eye-opening. Studying the history of the modern State of Israel, the architecture of Jerusalem and about the Palestinian experience has been enlightening and interesting. We are learning more than the academics, especially in the Palestinian class.

So, I’ve met many great people, travelled, eaten a ton of delicious food, seen lots of incredible sites and visited with friends and family. I can easily say that my expectations have been far surpassed! While I’m not sure when I’ll return, or for how long, I know I will. This experience has been one that I will never forget!

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