Hello! My​ name is Vanesa Martin​,​ and I'm an incoming fourth year at UCLA with a double major in Political Science and Geography/Environmental Studies. Currently, I am studying abroad in the city of Beer-Sheva, located in the northern Negev desert in Israel​, in order ​to conduct environmental research; I'm specifically interested in​ ​field work regarding ​water reuse, afforestation, and desert agriculture. Thus far, I am fluent in English and Spanish, but I hope to add some Hebrew and Arabic to my list by the end of my time in the Middle East. Thank you for reading!

Reacquainting Myself with Studenthood in Israel
November 27, 2017 -
October and November have been the months where I’ve finally begun to settle into the more academic routine I’d been neglecting (and that was made easily forgotten by the fact that I’m in Israel). I’ve learned a lot about Israeli society through my Israeli film class, and I’ve also taken up an internship at Sde Boqer researching the possibility of a completely self-sufficient aquaponics system for off-grid regions.
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An Israeli Holiday Season
October 17, 2017 -
Last month was brimming with Jewish holidays in addition to our long weekends, meaning that there was plenty of time to explore Israel and some of its neighbors.
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Ends and Beginnings in the Negev
September 18, 2017 -
The last 4 weeks have been eventful in every sense of the word. During the solar eclipse that most of the United States was able to enjoy in August, our Ulpan group decided to go watch a meteor shower in a town deeper in the Negev called Mitzpe Ramon, where the light pollution would interfere less with the view.
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First Days in Beer-Sheva
August 16, 2017 -
At one in the morning, I was beset by spiky palm tree leaves on my way to the place that would be my residence in the Negev desert for the next 5 months. The sand dunes I saw in the pamphlet were miles away from me, invisible from my standpoint at the intersection on Rager Street. The 50 pound suitcase I was dragging behind me rolled past the silhouette of a dark campus, a hospital, a handful of research centers, and silent apartment buildings.
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