Reflecting on My Study Abroad Experience

By Vera - August 7, 2018

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On my last day at BGU, I went to Aroma and ordered completely in Hebrew. The cashier commented on how much I’ve improved. It didn’t hit me until I landed in JFK that I had left Israel. I saw a crumpled up Aroma to-go bag on the floor of the plane and started to cry.

The first thing I noticed on my way home was our state motto: “Life Elevated.” Living in the mountains at 5,000 feet and skiing at 9,990 feet, I can attest that life in Utah truly is elevated. I love seeing my family, running with my dogs, and helping at the community garden.

In Judaism, there’s a concept of “elevating” the mundane world to a spiritual level. A lot of the things I love about Israel are physical (the people, places, and food). But there’s something deeper. The history of the place is tied to my own identity. Israel brings me a sense of familiarity, wonder, and adventure, that a bag of Bamba simply can’t do justice.

“In my dreams, Israel calls me back for some of the same things that I loved 2 years ago. To see my family and friends, live in the desert, eat hot hummus with fūl, write a note in the Western Wall.” I wrote this in my personal statement to get accepted into the OSP. I ended up fulfilling my dreams and much more!

The relevant and fascinating classes, the people I met with diverse opinions and ideas, and the support and warmth of the OSP staff made every moment in Israel unforgettable. I can’t wait to go back to Tufts to tell everyone about my experience. I’ve definitely put more thought into taking personally meaningful classes next semester. And as Interfaith Chair for Hillel, I hope to continue to have eye-opening discussions. Israel is my second home, and I’ll always cherish it. I won’t be gone for long, and I’ve taken some chutzpah and hospitality with me!