This post comes from one of our Study Abroad Advisors, Courtney Knott, who recently spent time in Israel. Be sure to scroll down and check our her beautiful pictures at the end of the post!
I had the fortunate opportunity to join 20 other educators from across the country on a tour of 5 Israeli universities this past March. Words and pictures won’t be able to convey my experience justly! Diversity and complexity reign in this small and enigmatic country. The locals are friendly and open, the food delicious and fresh, and the landscapes varied and dramatic. With safe, affordable, and easy-to-navigate public transportation, everything is just a short ride away.
So you are probably wondering what does this visit mean for TU students? Well, you have numerous opportunities to delve deeper into Israeli culture whether it be for an academic year, semester, summer, or Minimester! It can be difficult to narrow your options, so below is a brief overview of the universities that I visited:
Tel Aviv University – As a comprehensive university, you can take courses ranging from Jewish and Israeli studies to computer science. The university is situated just north of the city making it close to spotless beaches, cultural sights, and the charged scene that Tel Aviv offers.
University of Haifa – Studying here is a truly immersive experience that allows you an opportunity to take a wide range of courses including Peace and Conflict, Psychology, and Business. Haifa is touted as the city of co-existence with its diverse population, and the breathtaking views of the city and Mediterranean Sea also help to make this location truly unique.
Ben-Gurion University – Voted the #1 university by Israeli students for several years, this rapidly growing research university provides you with courses in Israeli Studies and Sustainable Development. The university is located in the stunning Negev region in the south, which allows you to explore a more uncharted territory.
Rothberg International School – The Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Situated in the most historically religious and holy city in the world, the university offers a wide array of courses in both Humanities and Social Sciences. The university is perched on Mount Scopus, which affords gorgeous views of the city below.
During the tour and upon my return, I spent some time ruminating on my experience and want to share some of my “take-aways” if you will. The main theme that resonated with me throughout the experience was the constant, quiet struggle between tradition and modernity. As an ancient land, it is deeply set in tradition, and yet it is one of the most innovative countries in terms of research and technology. Also while I knew that Israel was is located in the Middle East, I viewed Israel as a great location to study Israeli studies and not necessarily Middle Eastern and Arabic studies. However, I was met with an open dialogue; the diversity of Israeli was extremely noticeable, and the discussions and perspectives of the different groups were fascinating. Another major discussion that we had at every institution focused on the issue of safety and security. Each university has many safety precautions in place, and they help to provide a sense of comfort. Also an interesting fact is that Israel has a very low crime rate, which is not quite the case in Towson!
So how do you choose an option with so many good choices? If you haven’t already attended an information session, join us any day at 2:00p.m. for an overview of the study abroad process. Afterward you can make an appointment with me to discuss all the available programs in detail and look through all the different funding and scholarship opportunities out there to make this experience an affordable one.
Shalom and رعاية