Archive | July 2012

Shai for the Semester

Countdown to Israel: 4 days.

I’ve decided that while abroad I want to blog to chronicle my experiences both for myself and the people I love. It’s a great option especially because I don’t have the attention span or time to keep a journal!

My flight leaves at 7pm this coming Wednesday, 8/1. I’m excited and very overwhelmed. It is not fun to run around last minute horrified that I won’t have enough dental floss.

So, I’m spending the semester at Ben-Gurion Univ. of the Negev (BGU), which is located in Beersheba (בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע), in the middle of Israel and the tip of the desert. It’s an amazing and unconventional location (not Jerusalem or Tel Aviv), and a city that I haven’t already visited on my previous Birthright trip in June 2010.

Beersheba/Beersheva/Be’er Sheva/etc is a place famous for having been the home of the patriarch Abraham. Its name can be variously translated as “well of the oath,” referring to an oath made by Abraham and Abimelech, “seven wells,” referring to wells dug by Abraham/Isaac, or “well of the seven,” all of which have biblical significance I hope to learn about. It’s the largest city in the Negev and the 7th largest in Israel with a population of 200,000. It was occupied by the Ottoman Turks before independence in 1948, and is the diversity equivalent of NYC with Israeli Jews, eastern European and Ethiopian Jews, Arabs, and Bedouins.

BGU is highly liked and from all accounts seems to have crazy facilities all over campus (tons of coffee shops and eateries, a gym, a cinema, a pub in each dorm, a train station 5min away) that I am looking forward to using. I hope I can take yoga and Krav Maga =) Ulpan (intensive Hebrew language learning program) goes from 8/5-9/15 and classes start 9/18.

There are so many things I’m looking forward to, and I can’t wait to get started. =)

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