After the semester in Jerusalem, I am reflecting on my goals. I am almost at the end of my fourth month in Israel, and am mostly happy with where I am in terms of accpomplishing my goals.
As for learning Hebrew, I have been attending my classes and working through a workbook. One thing I want to adjust for this goal is to try and use my Hebrew more in public, whether it be ordering at a restaurant or bargaining at the Shuk.
Another goal of mine was to learn to live independently. I feel as though this is the goal I’ve made the most progress with, as even if I didn’t want to be independent I would be forced to be. I have been handling everything in my life without the help of my parents for the first time. During the semester in Tel Aviv, I will learn more independence because I will be grocery shopping and cooking for myself. I am excited for this as budgeting and cooking are skills I want to improve on this year.
A third goal I had was to discover more of my interests and try things out that could be potential options for my future career. Something I did this semester was volunteer as a medical clown in a local hospital (there is a picture included). I took a course first and then got to actually work with patients. This was a rewarding experience and I am glad I did it, but I do not think hospital work is in the cards for my future. During the Tel Aviv semester, I am planning to volunteer four days a week at an elementary school. I am hoping to be in a special education setting, but the logistics are still being worked out. I know that I love kids and have past experience as a camp counselor, so I am excited to see if this experience solidifies it as something I want to pursue in my future.
One goal I need to adjust is my goal of expanding my horizons. I need to refine the goal to be more specific work on balancing it with the program I am on. I have not been able to try many new foods, as my allergy often gets in the way. It has also been challenging to immerse myself into Israeli life, as I am living with other Americans and am an obvious tourist anywhere I go. As for exploring Jerusalem, I am pretty satisfied with my experience. I went everywhere from the Jerusalem water tunnels to the zoo (a picture of the giraffes is included) to local thrift shops. As for exploring the country, my program takes us many places, but I hope to see more. I am going on winter break soon and hope to plan out trips around the country. The last important concept in my goal of expanding my horizons is getting educated about the conflicts in Israeli society. This is the most difficult, because I have taken classes, met with Palestinians, and done some research. However, there is so much to know, and so much history, that it is hard for me to feel educated enough on the topic. That being said, I plan to focus more time throughout the semester on learning about the issues in Israel and the middle east.