It sounds cliché, but it really does seem like only yesterday that I was a nervous freshman, unsure about how I was going to survive living in this new, unfamiliar place for the next four years; three years later, I am a junior and don’t even know where the time went. As I get ready to pack up my life and start on a new chapter, I think about this amazing place filled with lifelong friends that I am leaving behind. At the same time, I know that it is all for an incredible, unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience that I will look back on and talk about for the rest of my life.
When I used to think about going abroad, which was pretty much everyday, I imagined myself in every city in Europe at one point or another. Lo and behold, I chose to study abroad in Tel Aviv, Israel, and no one was more surprised than myself. I went to Israel for the first time this past May and truly felt right at home from the start of my trip. Besides the undeniable beauty of the country (and mouthwatering hummus and falafel), Israel offers the perfect blend of culture and modernity that radiates through the lives of the warm and welcoming Israelis. Even though the idea of spending 5 months in the Middle East was slightly frightening to my mother at first, my excitement and passion for the country was apparent when I returned home, and she knew that I needed to be where I would be most happy. So after months and months of discussion and planning, it’s hard to believe that I am finally able to say confidently that I will be studying abroad in Tel Aviv in just a few short weeks.
I’d be lying if I said I knew what I was in for, because honestly, no matter how many guides I read and how many students I talk to, I will never be able to fully imagine myself living in a country much different from here until I unpack my bags and settle into a new dorm, in a new city, with new friends, who speak a language that I am completely clueless about. I’d also be lying if I said that this didn’t totally scare me; I mean, how could it not? But the truth of the matter is that I know that this experience will make me a better person. I will learn how to adapt to a new culture and become apart of a country that offers the world so much. I will learn to speak a different language, so that I can bargain with cab drivers of course, and grow and mature amongst Israelis who lead a life that is incomparable to my own in some ways, and entirely in sync in others. I think it’s normal to feel a whole mix of emotions, of fear, excitement, anxiousness, eagerness, because that’s what you feel when you do something you’ve never done before. Never again will I be able to take a 5-month “break” from my real life to study abroad and I want to remember and enjoy every minute of it. Since it’ll be hard to recap 5 months of adventures when my trip is over, this blog will be my way of cluing everyone in on a life changing experience that will be over before I know it.