My name is Anna and this is my blog about graduate studies abroad. I have a bachelor's degree in anthropology. I am going for a master's degree in the Bible and the Ancient Near East at Rothberg International School part of Hebrew University. This blog will be about my adventures in Israel and differences in culture I notice. I meant to start this blog before I left the United States but I ran out of time so I am starting it now a few days before I start classes.
When I told people I was going to study in Israel they would immediately ask me one of two questions: 1. Are you Jewish? No, I am not Jewish but you don't have to be Jewish to want to go to Israel. Jerusalem is also a holy place for Christians and Muslims alike. 2. Aren't you scared? Yes and No. I am scared because this is one of the biggest changes I have ever faced in my life. This is as far away from home as I've ever been. I do not have any relatives that live in Israel so I am alone over here. I currently don't know Hebrew so I still have a language barrier to work with. The no I'm not scared answer is in regards to my safety. Everyone seems to have the opinion that Israel is a war torn third world country that is crawling with people who want to kill you. The truth is Israel is a very well developed country, you can drink the water here no problem and I think their medical system is as good if not better than the United States. I think the dangerous perception people have of Israel is because the news only reports on Israel when something bad happens. I've been in Israel for a few days now and I feel perfectly safe. Plus as I like to point out I got an A in the self defense class I took for physical education credit for my undergraduate degree. So I should be just fine.
Safety isn't really an issue here for me and I'll explain why. Every Israeli citizen is required to serve in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) I think two years is required but I'm not certain. So everywhere you go there are security guards outside. There is an armed guard outside the front door of the hotel I'm staying in. The grocery store up the street also has an armed guard and they have the right to go through your bag and wand you if they want to. The mall has similar security guards in place sometimes with added metal detectors. I am perfectly safe possibly safer than I was back home in Texas.
I formally register for my summer classes and move into the dorms next week. I'm going to work on several posts about packing and what to pack for a study abroad in Israel but I'm waiting until I know how well I did myself. This way I can include what I wish I had brought and what I wish I had left behind. I hope this blog will be helpful to others thinking of studying abroad or at least interesting to follow.