It is exactly a week until my flight takes off from Frankfurt headed to Tel Aviv and I am currently surrounded by piles of clothes as I start to plan my theoretically practical yet fashionable wardrobe for my Israeli adventure! It would be lying to say that I am not nervous about this upcoming semester, but I can say that I am also feeling excited and confident. I admit I was starting to freak out just a tad in August when Obama and Putin were throwing their weight around over Syria and I confess that there was space in my suitcase reserved for a gas mask [No really, military brats come prepared]. However, everything seems to have settled down and the reality is starting to sink in for me.
In the spirit of being introspective and open, perhaps I should begin with introducing myself followed up by a few thoughts/expectations on studying abroad. I am a senior at Wofford College with a double major in German/Intercultural Studies and a Business minor sandwiched in there somewhere. I grew up in the military [so moving to new places is status quo] and my family currently lives in Germany where I spent the summer working as a waitress and volunteering/interning for the American Red Cross. I know some people find it weird that I have opted to study abroad for my senior year and sometimes I wish I stayed in South Carolina. Not being at Wofford means I am jealously stalking my friends as they post photos and feeling oddly nostalgic over those cinderblock walls, but I also realize this year is an unbelievable opportunity that will help me prepare for the rest of my life.
Being in Israel will prove a huge challenge as I have never travelled there, do not know anyone in the region, and have no idea what to really expect. Furthermore, I do not speak the language and I am envisioning nightmarish situations involving myself wandering around the city lost and unable to communicate with anyone. Despite all of my reservations, I chose Israel for many of these reasons. I wanted to find a place that was unique and that would force me to branch out of my comfort zone. I already studied abroad in Germany, but, let’s be honest, it wasn’t that much of a cultural stretch for me as I speak the language fairly well and have traveled there many, many times. This time around it will not be so easy. I am going to enroll in an Arabic course [over which I anticipate spending many hours crying into my text book] and will be taking 3 other courses at an international school which will surely prove very different from Wofford. However, I know at the end of this I will have gained so much. The people and experiences will change my outlook on the world by granting me a closer look at one of today’s most disputed regions and immersing me in a new culture. Who knows what I will choose to do with this new perspective, but I am confident that I will have the building blocks for one heck of a kick-butt, post-grad life!
Thanks for reading [or not reading] my first blog post! Even if you don’t want to wade through all of this text, check out these awesome photos from my summer in Europe!