A journey of a life time / by Eric Tyler Landon
It is the last week of the University of Haifa classes. As the study abroad program is going to a close, I am filled with a bittersweet feeling. While I am sad that soon, I am going back to the United States, I will cherish my memories in Israel on this study abroad excursion for the rest of my life.
In the beginning of the semester, I struggled ordering a falafel and coffee in Hebrew, and now after almost 5 months in the country I can now order a falafel, have a conversation with an Israeli over a cup of coffee. With CIEE, I was able to explore the cultures of Israel such as the Circassians, explore the largest Arab city, have a Jewish shabbat dinner, and do so much more such as river hiking in a short period of time.
My time here studying in the University of Haifa has been extremely rewarding. On top of learning modern Hebrew and experiencing culture first hand, I have learned so much about peace and conflict. I have learned the history of conflicts within the Middle East. I learned about what caused peace, and what caused war. I have met refugees from Sudan and Eritrea and learned about international law, intervening to benefit the mental health, and overall well being of these people. This was really beneficial for my major of political science and Middle Eastern studies.
Outside of the classroom and CIEE, I got connected to a world of new friends and new traditions I was unfamiliar with. I was able to spend Passover in the holiest city for Jews, I have been invited to fast with Arab Muslims for Ramadan, I have been taught traditional dances of both cultures, and been invited into the homes and lives of some of the best people in the world.
All of these things would never have been possible without taking the leap into the unfamiliar and deciding to study in this wonderfully diverse country that is rich with culture. CIEE helped give me the option of cultural and adventurous excursion. The University taught me an ancient language, peace & conflict, international law, history, and intervention with refugees. This country taught me how to dance to new music, how to dive into other cultures, how to cook new foods, and how to live life to the fullest.
As the semester is coming to a close, I am leaving armed with new facts about the world and with a trip that made a huge mark on my life that I will never forget. My memory of Haifa (the city known for its co-existence), has taught me the true meaning of tolerance and Peace. سلام. שלום