Tel Aviv University

Nils Z.

University:  Tel Aviv University
Study Period:  Fall 2010
Academic Level: Master
   
 

Nils„You are going to Israel? But what’s about the bombs over there?” I received this kind of reaction from many people after telling them about my intention to go Tel Aviv for studying abroad. Certainly, German news coverage about the Middle East mainly focuses on negative issues like terrorist attacks or the controversial settlement policy, and therefore makes it difficult to perceive the current state of affairs in Israel in a positive way- but Israel is so much more!

Israel and its people

Israel is an unbelievably hospitable country. Regardless of their culture or religion, people are very open towards you and keep surprising you with completely different ways of life, experiences and opinions. But not only are the people of Israel very different, the landscape is equally diverse: In just one hour you can travel alongside mountains, drive through deserts, pass ancient cities and finish your trip at a nearly tropical beach. Tel Aviv (“the bubble”) is another example of these extremes.

Nils

The city is everything, except of being like the rest of the country: Modern, alternative, creative, international, hedonistic and unfortunately very expensive. These attributes describe the life in Tel Aviv – a city, which seems to be made just for enjoying live and forgetting about the rest of the world.

Organisation and studying

The philosophy of “living in the moment” and “you can do everything or nothing” is also reflected at the University of Tel Aviv. Instead of writing exams we had to work together in small international groups in order to solve many assignments and present our results in the end. Furthermore, there is hardly any planning for more than one week and hardly any bureaucracy, which is why everything is a bit chaotic. Nevertheless, the support from the local IS:link coordinators was commendable. They always came up with a creative solution for our concerns. Hence, due to IS:link my enrolment at the university was very simple: “We just need your date of birth, your email address and your Facebook name.” As I participated in a MBA programme, my courses were mostly related to business administration. Neither the difficulty level of the courses nor the acknowledgement of them at my home University of Duisburg-Essen turned out to be a problem for me.  

Living in Tel Aviv

The points mentioned above enable you to really enjoy life in Tel Aviv. You can go swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, play beach volleyball, have a beer in one of the small bars in the artists’ quarter “Florentine”, drink coffee on the “Bauhaus-Boulevard” and finish the day in one of the many clubs (without dress codes and annoying bouncers!). Furthermore, nearly everybody in Israel speaks English, which makes travelling simple and, above all, very cheap. On this occasion I especially want to point out that the people in the West Banks are also very open and friendly. I never had the feeling of being in a dangerous situation when I was there, and the impressions were the most formative ones of my time Israel. Only due to getting in contact with people from different communities and experiencing their daily life I had the opportunity to form an individual, unbiased perception of Israel.  I also hoped that I would be able to understand the Middle East conflict after my semester in Tel Aviv, but I had to learn that every person exhibits individual experiences, opinions and reasons on a level, where rational discussions and distinguishing between right and wrong is not possible.Nils

My conclusion

I can only recommend you to discover Israel on you own and broaden your horizon in an exciting and diverse country. One last annotation from my side: If you are German and considering going to Israel, do not be afraid: I was always welcomed very kindly and many people were very happy about my intention of getting to know Israel.