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Week 8 and 9 of my Study Abroad Experience in Haifa, Israel

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a great week! I would like to start off this week’s blog post by talking about my overall academic experience so far at the University of Haifa, Israel. I have thoroughly enjoyed my classes and would say that my favorite class is Terrorism and Responses. My teacher has a way of capturing the attention of the entire class and makes me think about highly controversial issues in ways that I would have never before. Moreover, I would say that learning about the Middle East when you are living in the Middle East is completely different than learning about it while in the United States. When we discuss conflicts like the Arab-Israeli conflict in class, I now have a visual of these places and the people that are affected by it. For example, last week Israel was in the headlines of all of the major news networks because they assassinated an Islamic Jihad Leader in Gaza. The CNN link below further describes the situation. The Islamic Jihad is a Palestinian Islamist terrorist organization.

The Islamic Jihad responded to this assassination by firing hundreds of rockets into Israel over several days. I would like to describe my experience of being in Israel during this conflict.

During the morning of the rocketfire I received an email from the Executive Director of the International School instructing us to not travel to Southern Israel or Tel Aviv due to the rocket fire coming from Gaza. Honestly, I was a little scared because I had never experienced anything like this growing up in the United States. Additionally, I have been to Tel Aviv several times so it was disheartening for me to see a video of a rocket hitting the highways of roads I have traveled. I was surprised to see that the locals living in Haifa, seemed unphased by the situation that was topping the headlines of the world’s major newspapers. When I asked people about it they would say things like “we should be fine because we are in Northern Israel and they can’t reach here” or “this is pretty normal and it should calm down in a couple of days, don’t worry.” Hearing them say this helped to calm my nerves and feel as at ease as I could with the current situation. From this experience, I gained a first-hand insight of what it is like to live in Israel. I would like to thank everyone for reading this week!

University of Haifa, Israel

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  1. Being in the midst of a conflict and seeing it first hand certainly gives you a different perspective, vs what we are learning by way of news reports. We enjoy vicariously following you along on your travels. Richard says, “stay alert and be safe”.


  2. That does sound intense and a little frightening as well. I’m going to keep an extra watchful eye out for your posts now to make sure that you’re ok. So keep posting! It is amazing that you get to have this experience though – the good and the bad parts of it. You’re right in saying that you’d never be able to have this perspective from the states, while reading about the conflicts in a book or in the newspapers. But do keep in close contact with the International School and their directives!


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