Hey everyone! I am almost into my third week of studying abroad in Israel which is crazy for me to think about. I feel like I am getting more comfortable with how Tel Aviv/Israel runs and feel less like a visitor and more like a community member on campus. My three biggest takeaways from the first part of my study abroad experience:
- I have definitely grown more comfortable living in Israel! Something that really helped me was figuring out public transportation without always relying on my phone. I became familiar with the bus lines and bus stations that take me directly to campus, that way if my phone is low on battery or not connecting for some reason, I won’t feel stranded. Something else that helped me become more comfortable with living in Israel is taking the time to slow down. When I am traveling, I tend to get into the mindset of feeling like I need to be doing something every hour of the day to make the most of my time. I have learned that if all I want to do in the afternoon is answer emails and then visit a park/beach in Tel Aviv, that’s fine too! Not every day has to be a day full of travel and adventure. Sometimes you just need to recharge.
- My first realization that I was not in America anymore and immersing myself in a completely new culture was the weather. Israel is very dry and hot as the summer goes on. I was so used to rainy/cloudy Pittsburgh that as soon as I stepped out of the airport in Israel I was shocked. Another thing is people asking where I am from and telling me about their experiences in the U.S.. It makes me realize that as big as the U.S. is, there are so many people who are go just as visitors.
- I have experiences a few moments of culture shock. One of the main ones is when people are me are having conversations with each other in Hebrew. I have no idea what they are saying, and always hope that the person I am asking for help speaks English. Another thing is the difference in weekends in Israel. The weekend here is Friday/Saturday and many stores/restaurants and methods of transportation here are closed Friday evening and most of the day Saturday. This is a lot different compared to the U.S., when even though the weekend is Saturday/Sunday, most places still operate normally.