Read This First

Hello/שלום/مَرْحَبًا and welcome to my blog! I am happy you are here. In this blog, I will be sharing with you my journey of my year abroad at the University of Haifa in Israel/Palestine. The reason I am doing this is because I am a Global Gateway Fellow and Study Abroad Correspondent at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As such, it is my intention to give you, the international reader, a full picture of what my life is like here and to show you how it is different from and similar to my life back home.

Let it first be said that I am blessed to be here. There is no way I would be here if it were not for the special support of my father, my sister, my family, my friends, my teachers, my university, my mental health care providers, and my God. All thanks be to them.

Specifically, I want to shout out the Financial Aid Security Track (FASTrack) Program because I am a FASTrack Scholar. This program is designed for in-state students from low-income backgrounds and promises to fully meet students’ financial need for eight consecutive semesters both on campus and abroad. In other words, it’s like winning the lottery one thousand times in a row. The opportunity aid I receive has allowed me to do what otherwise would be impossible: go to college, receive a higher education, engage in scholarship, and travel the world without the shadow of lifelong debt on my shoulders. Dreams really do come true. Dreams really do come true.

I recognize the once in a lifetime opportunity before me. It is a chance many wish for but very few recieve. Keeping this in mind always, I stay humble and motivated to make the absolute most of it.

It is for this reason I applied (and was accepted!) to participate in the Psychology Track at the University of Haifa, while also being a full-time student. Over the course of the year, I will be collaborating with my mentor, Dr. Shamy-Tsoory, to develop an independent research project focused on the relationship between empathy and language. This line of inquiry is related to my work at the Center for Healthy Minds, where I study kindness and mindfulness, and the Infant Learning Lab, where I study how babies learn language. My research means the world to me and I look forward to telling you more about it when the time comes.

I am currently traveling through Israel/Palestine before my semester begins on the 23rd of September. I have already met many beautiful people and experienced many beautiful things and I haven’t even been to Haifa yet. If this is at all a sign for what will soon be, I know it will be the best year of my life so far.