In January the extent of my knowledge of other religions was that they existed and now I know history and customs; I’ve celebrated holidays and holy days I’ve never even heard of. I went from not knowing anything other than what I read or heard from the media about the conflicts taking place in Israel and the areas surrounding it, to forming my own opinion and feeling confident enough to get into debates with others on the issues.
Studying abroad in Israel transformed the way I thought about many critical issues on both a regional and global scale.
The opportunities to speak with military commanders, governmental officials, humanitarian representatives and citizens, provided a well-rounded perspective of the conflict.
Going into the desert with geologists, botanists, and biologists was extremely interesting, but I was constantly challenged to connect what I was learning to my academic and professional goals.
We went from snorkeling with tropical fish in the beautiful Red Sea, through the expanse of the southern desert, past the Mediterranean Sea at sunset, to the forested Golan Heights near the Sea of Galilee within one week’s time.
When we traveled to the Dead Sea we met with Eli Raz, a behemoth of Israeli geology who famously fell into a sinkhole that opened up beneath him while studying the phenomena in the Dead Sea region.