Reflections on My Time at Hebrew University
William Lazarenko – Winnipeg
From as long as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated by Israel despite having no family connections or other influence. I applied to study at Hebrew U and got accepted right away, however the pandemic created roadblocks. In the fall of 2021, I found myself going into another round of online university classes in Winnipeg and felt my call to move to Tel Aviv (which has become my favourite city on earth).
My spontaneous decision to leave home with my laptop and move ten thousand kilometers to a brand new country amid an ongoing pandemic shocked both family and friends. My self-initiated travels to Israel inspired me to come back again the following year to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem allowed me the opportunity to learn from global leaders, big names in tech/science and high-ranking Israeli security individuals. I was surrounded by students, both Israeli and international, who were mature and goal-driven.
This university excels in bringing the best for its students. In general, Israel provided me with once-in-a-lifetime networking opportunities. I found myself involved with the bright scholars from the Canadian-founded Heseg Foundation. I had the pleasure of attending their annual October event where IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Canadian leaders Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman were in attendance. Living in Israel and studying at Hebrew U felt like an “accelerated life” where I am making friends, new connections and trying new things every day.
Israel inspired me to take an intensive Hebrew course as well as learn more about Judaism. I learned very quickly that a large part of Jewish culture is helping others. This value led me on to my next chapter. I finished my studies at Hebrew U this past February and made the crazy decision to move to war-torn Ukraine where I would volunteer during the Winter/Spring. Living in Israel certainly teaches a young suburban Canadian how to “step out of his comfort zone” and this is precisely the confidence that carried my efforts over to Ukraine.
William is in his final year of the Asper Business Program at the University of Manitoba.