Humus on the beach

Julia V.

University: 
Study Period: 
Spring 2012
Academic Level: 
Master
   
 

VolksThe last 5 months in Tel Aviv were the best time in my life. I am so glad that I had the courage to go abroad and gave up thinking: "oh no, I have to add one semester". Be brave - you don`t have the chance to get such experiences in any other way. For me Israel / Tel Aviv was the right choice and I can only encourage other students to spend a semester in Israel and especially in Tel Aviv.

Israel and Tel Aviv

When I told everyone where I was going, they said: Why would you do that, do you want to die? It is right, Israel is not the most secure place in the world, but I didn`t feel unsafe at any time during my stay. The Israeli people are relaxed, they like to sit in a coffee bar or at the beach and enjoy their life. VolksThe government knows about the problems and tries to protect you, therefore bags get controlled whenever you enter a shopping centre, the university or a bus station. If you can accept that fact, you can enjoy a diverse country and an amazing city. In the North of Israel you have hills and green areas, not as green as in my home country - Germany, but green. If you go south, it becomes more and more a desert. In the South you have the Red Sea with its amazing coral riffs and fishes. You have to go there for snorkeling, it’s really great. You should do a trip to Jordan to the Wadi Rum desert, too. The desert with its hills and camels is really impressive. Beside that, you can visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Traveling in Israel is very easy. You can rent a car, fly or go by bus. Because of its small size you can reach everything in a short time.
For me Tel Aviv was and still is a big city, given the fact, that I come from a small village. You can reach everything by foot or bike. Tel Aviv is an international city, people from all over the world live there. The best attraction in Tel Aviv for me was the beach and especially the Gordon Beach. There you have some beach fields to play Beach Volleyball and when it’s not too hot, you normally find enough players/opponents there.Volks I was able to learn to surf at Tel Aviv Beaches, too. It’s not appropriate for experts, but for beginners its fine. It is important to point out that the Israeli Beach Sport is Ping pong/Beach Ball (look at the picture on the top of this report), they play it for hours.
As a girl you have enough places to shop. In Tel Aviv there are three big shopping centers and several shopping streets. One highlight for me was the Carmel Market on which you can buy clothes, housekeeping materials and food (bred, fruits, vegetables, meat). It is cheaper at the market than in a shop and a kind of adventure shopping. Once a week I went there to do my shopping and after some time I already had my favorite men for bred, meat and fruit.

Spring

One difference in my experiences to these of my forerunners (see other student experience reports) is, that I was there in spring and not in fall. If you go during spring, it’s amazing. In spring you have several special Israeli holidays. It starts with Purim, a kind of carnival, so don’t forget your costume at home. Then Pesach, the Holocaust Day and the Independence Day follow. Every holiday was very special and interesting to see. For example on Independence Day the whole city is blue and white and loads of events take place. Furthermore there was a Students Day at campus. On Campus were four stages on which they played music from typicall Israeli folk to Electro. I have never seen such a big event for students at any university before.

VolksIn June was gay pride which took place for over a week. Gay and lesbian people around the world come to Tel Aviv. The Highlight of that week was a parade through the city and a big Beach Party (shown in the picture on the left). At the End of July/beginning of August you are finished and you can go back home, tanned and before it gets too hot so that you cannot stand it anymore.

University

The university is not in the center of Tel Aviv, it is in the north. But buses are going there from the center all the time and if it’s not too hot, you can go by bike. The university has a big campus and is a fairly new university. You can choose courses of the part time Master or of the international MBA-Program. The part time courses are joined by Israeli students and are in the evenings because the students are already working daytime jobs. The MBA-Program is for people from around the world who worked several years and come to Tel Aviv to study again. Your fellow students are generally older than you because of their work experience or the military service, but for that they are likely to give practical examples and tell you their experiences which are very interesting. But you have to know that the university offers nearly only economic courses.

When you arrive you have an introduction week in which you get to know the other exchange students, the university, Jerusalem and Jaffa. All the time you have a contact person, who is there to help you all the time. In addition, the university has a buddy system. Every student gets an Israeli student as a buddy to get to know the Israeli culture better. Beside that the university organizes parties and other events like soccer matches. One great event was the pool party in the swimming pool of the university.

Other Exchange students

VolksImportant is, that I not only got to know Israel better, I’ve found new friends, which live all around the world. Plus, I got to know other cultures, as well. For example we celebrated Queensday, a Dutch holiday, together. We found out that words like “Fledermaus” and others are similar in a lot of languages. Especially watching the European Championship with fans of the opponent’s team was a unique experience. In nearly every bar in Tel Aviv you can watch the big soccer games. Because of their not-so-successful Israeli soccer players, the Israeli are fans of teams around the world. After soccer, basketball is a big sport in Israel. If you are interested in sports, you should try to get tickets for Maccabi Tel Aviv which is a very successful team in Israel
and Europe.

Conclusion

If you like the beach, want to live in a young, international city and want to study in a practical way, come to Tel Aviv. You don’t have to worry, you don’t need to learn Hebrew, because normally, everyone is able to speak English. One of my experiences shows this: I was in a self-service laundry and there was an old Israeli woman. She was not able to handle the washing machine, but was able to ask me to help her - in English. In my case the application to Tel Aviv was not complicated at all, and you can go after a preparation time of 4 to 6 months. But you should start to save money beforehand, because at least compared to Germany, Israel and Tel Aviv in particular are very expensive. To apply, you only have to say you would like to go and then you have to verify that you passed the TOEFL Test and hand in a CV. During your semester in Israel you should not forget to try Humus, the typical Israeli dish!