Israel seems so familiar, yet so different at the same time. This is my fourth time in the Land of Milk and Honey, and every time I come it feels like a weird mixture of being home while also being in foreign country at the same time. Since this is my fourth time in Israel, I think the biggest shock for me was how uncomfortable I felt getting off the plane and making my way to the University of Haifa.
Last semester I studied abroad in Korea, a place so foreign to me—I don’t speak Korean, or know any Koreans there, and I certainly didn’t know anything about the culture—that I often thought to myself, “what on earth am I doing here?” That question does not apply to my study abroad experience in Israel this semester. I speak Hebrew, I know the culture, I know people here---and I know I’m here to study Hebrew and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
But yet, getting off that plane this afternoon and traveling halfway across the country to get to Haifa---I found myself asking “what on earth am I doing here?” I already had a fantastic study abroad experience; did I really need another one? And just thinking that question to myself was a shock in of itself. That is the last question I thought I would be asking myself as I traveled to my new home for the next four months.
My biggest shock arriving in Israel had nothing to do with Israeli culture, it was just a simple little question that I asked myself, “what on earth am I doing here?”
And you know what? I can’t wait to find the answer.