University Students Make the Most of Year Abroad Studying in Israel

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The Jewish Post & News

University Students Make the Most of Year Abroad Studying in Israel

By Eva Cohen
Winnipeg, December 16, 2009

Each year, a group of Jewish students from Winnipeg go to Israel for work or study programs. There are currently nine youth from the city at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Some are staying for the full year, while others went for a single semester and will return to Winnipeg for the winter.

One program that allows Jewish students to go to Israel affordably is called “MASA” by the Jewish Agency. The Jewish Agency gives scholarships to Jews from around the world who wish to participate in Israel programming.

This year’s participants have sent messages and photos from their time in Israel that they would like to share with the community:

Winnipeg Students at HU“I am very fortunate to be able to spend the year at Hebrew University, as it has allowed me to experience new and exciting opportunities both related to academics, and outside of the
classroom as well.

I am fulfilling many electives for my degree back home during this year abroad. I am pursuing a science degree and have been able to broaden my horizons through classes in Hebrew language, archeaology, biotechnology and even an internship through the Rothberg School at Hadassah Hospital at Mount Scopus in Jersualem.”

“I am taking courses in Jewish and Israeli History, Middle East Conflict and Religion. All the courses are taught in English because it's an international program, but we all still have to take Hebrew courses three times a week.

The program has madrichim (leaders) who plan many activities for us, such as hikes, tours around the Old City of Jerusalem, concerts and weekend trips around Israel. This past weekend they took us for a Chanukah trip to the Negev Desert. It's hard to pick the most fun thing I've done so far, but some highlights have been seeing Idan Raichel perform at a special students concert for us, going away to a kibbutz up north for the weekend with students from the program, and going travelling to Eilat and Tel Aviv, as well as other places to see friends and family.”

Meira GisserReflections on my time in Israel

“The program began in August with an intense seven-week Hebrew language ulpan followed by an 11-week academic semester.

I am taking a variety of electives related to Jewish and Israeli topics such as Archaeology of Jerusalem, Greco-Roman Jewish History in the Second Temple Period, and Issues in Israeli Politics and Society. We also all take an additional eight hours of Hebrew a week.

There are eight Winnipeggers here this year, which is an unusually large amount. As a result, Winnipeg is very well-represented here in the Rothberg School, and every time someone mentions that they are Canadian, the immediate response is “Oh, so you must be from Winnipeg!”

Living in Israel has been quite the experience. Through the program we have been able to go on Shabbatons and hiking trips in the Galil-Golan region and elsewhere, attend amazing concerts, sporting events, and lectures, and get involved in other interesting activities that have taught us about Israeli culture, history and society.

From the Roman ruins of Caesarea to the quarters of the Old City in Jerusalem to the beautiful beaches of Tel Aviv. It has been an unforgettable few months, and I know I will return to Winnipeg with a whole new appreciation for this land and all it has to offer.”

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