5 Things I Learned Studying in Israel

It’s been more two years since I decided to study in Israel, and a year and a half since I uprooted my life in America and made the bold move to Israel to attend IDC Herzliya. It’s been a year and a half full of new friends from around the world (who even knew there were Jews from Norway and Luxembourg!), motivational lectures, and arguing in line at the bank. From all of these experiences and more I learned five main lessons that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

1. Help is where you least expect it

  • Never underestimate the power of someone else, or even yourself. Help can come from someone in the grocery line who overhears you complaining about your phone plan and suggests a different company to use. Help can come from the shy person in your class who is really homesick so never talks, but when you actually take the time to talk to her, she explains a concept from lecture you just didn’t understand. And you can surprise yourself with how much you can help. Just giving a hug or a smile to someone can help them when they have a bad day.

2. Keep an open mind

  • Studying in an international school in Israel means that one’s perceptions and opinions are constantly challenged. From so many different views across the spectrum on issues internal to Israel, and even more with issues external to the country. Adding to that the fact that people come from such different backgrounds, everyone has a different life view. But this should not be a scary thing. You should embrace challenges to your views. Allow these different positions to challenge and perhaps reassess your own views as you are now able to have a more global and diverse perspective.

3. Prioritize opportunities

  • Opportunities are great, but you can’t take them all. You must prioritize. Israel is such a small country which is great if you take initiative you can get even closer to achieving your goals, but that being said a ton of opportunities were thrown my way and I had to say no. It pained me as I knew I was turning down incredible experiences but there is no time to do it all and I would be too overwhelmed. Saying no is a vital skill to learn.

4. Be happy alone

  • I learned how to follow my interests even if it meant being alone. I stopped being so worried about running into someone when I was alone or always having the need to be on my phone when everyone else was. Israel will present you with so many great opportunities from events to internships, which you must take alone. It was time for me to learn not to care what others think and become comfortable doing things by myself. I learned to be comfortable being the only one up studying late, or the only one going to spend the day at the beach and came to terms with spending time with myself.

5. Go on adventures!

  • And with all of these four lessons in mind, you can go on adventures. Open your mind to possible adventures, say no to some and choose the best, ask others for suggestion and be happy to embark on it alone! Whether going to my favorite book store in Tel Aviv to read by myself, or travel with friends to Jerusalem, I seized as many adventures as possible. This is the ideal time and place in my life to take risks and go on adventures and see where life will take me.
About the Author
Originally from Washington, D.C., Penina Graubart is the New Media Associate for Times of Israel. She also attends IDC Herzliya, studying at the Sammy Ofer School of Communications