I always knew I wanted to study abroad. After coming to Syracuse I thought I narrowed down my options to London, England and Madrid, Spain. After many pro/con lists and trips to the abroad center on campus, I made the decision to apply to the London program. I filled out the application, asked one of my professors to write a letter of recommendation and paid the application fee. All I had to do was press the ‘submit’ button and I would have been spending my spring semester in the land of Queen Elizabeth II. Except, I could not bring myself to press ‘submit.’ I felt like I had not made the right decision. While London is an incredible city, I was not overly excited. I wanted to challenge myself with language and culture. While London is most certainly a change, it is not so drastic.
At first I was contemplating switching my application to Madrid in order to improve my Spanish. But in the end, I ended up applying to study in Tel Aviv, Israel. To many this may sound like an arbitrary decision, but in reality I always wanted to study in Tel Aviv. Especially after visiting this past summer, I had the secret desire to return and spend the semester in the dynamic city of Tel Aviv.
While Israel is an incredible country, there are some problems associated with living there. The biggest and most worrisome is safety. Israel is located right in the middle of the Middle East and is in heavily involved in the intricate web of arguments involved between the nations in the area.
My parents have their fears about me living there for five months, but I am determined to experience life as a typical Tel Avivm and study at Tel Aviv University. A number of nations, including the United States, have issued travel advisories for their citizens. While Israel has always been surrounded in violence, all of its citizens are required to serve the military. That being said, there are extreme preventative measures to prevent any violence against the Israeli people.
As an American student, I have to trust and realize that Tel Aviv is a safe city and nothing major has ever happened within its borders. In addition, a Public Relations major, I know there is a difference between reality and how the American media portrays the nation. So I just have to remain positive and get excited for an incredible semester abroad.