100 Alumni We Love - Rachel Babins

Reflections on My Time at HU

By Rachel Babins, Toronto

In my last year of high school, I chose to apply to Hebrew University’s gap year program. I wanted to gain international experience before settling down to complete a four-year Bachelor of Arts program. I convinced my then-boyfriend now-husband to come along with me. Little did we know that our year abroad would turn out to be one of the most memorable experiences of our lives.

A highlight of the program was the community created by Kari Zalik and the team from Canadian Friends of Hebrew University. The Canadians in the program grew very close (and were envied by some of our American friends because we were treated to concerts and restaurants).

The best part was being able to hear diverse perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from prominent professors of different backgrounds. Learning about an active conflict from the people it directly affects is an experience you cannot get from a textbook. It wasn’t uncommon to have a professor become emotional during a lecture or tell a personal anecdote about a chapter of history we happened to be studying. I came back from Jerusalem extremely inspired and made Israel studies the focus of my research over the next four years.

  • Rachel is a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) in Toronto.