Archive | May, 2012

Where in Israel am I going?

24 May

Where in Israel am I going?

Haifa is located in the north, right on the coast.


A step closer…

22 May

I purchased my tickets to Israel last week. Actually, I’m using miles that I collected from work travel. I leave at 6 a.m. Wednesday, October 17th and arrive 1 p.m. on Thursday. I’m taking a bit of a round about route to get there (Reno – San Francisco – Washington Dulles – Munich – Tel Aviv) but I am at the mercy of what’s available using my miles. The advantage of this crazy routing – I’ll be flying business class and I arrive at a decent time. If I flew a more direct routing then I would arrive at 2 a.m. Given that I must take a train from Tel Aviv to Haifa after arriving – I don’t want to do that in the middle of the night after flying all day. I have to admit – I am looking forward to a quick beer and pretzel during my layover in Munich.

Just this morning I received my first syllabi and reading list for my German language classes. Over the next several weeks I’ll be getting more reading lists for each course. If you are curious what kinds of classes I’ll be taking, you can find the course listings here.

Hello world!

8 May

Well, I guess I need to start somewhere. I started this blog to document my year in Haifa, Israel for friends & loved ones. I kept a similar blog when I lived in New Zealand. It’s just an easy way to keep people posted without getting bogged down writing a zillion emails a day. Not that I don’t love emails – I love hearing from friends and family! Hint, hint! Ha ha!

As I have been slowly telling people about going to Israel for grad school I have been getting some funny responses and a lot of questions. Here are a few answers to common questions I have been hearing:

Q: Why Israel?

A: The simple answer is because the program is very inexpensive and I can complete it in a year. The more complex answer is the program I’m doing sounds fascinating to me. It’s a brand new program – it’s the first of its kind in Israel. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I enjoy living abroad – as you know I’ve made it my job to encourage people to do just that. Israel provides a great opportunity to experience a complex place, steeped in history and an all around interesting culture.

Q: Where in Israel are you going?

A: I’ll be studying at the University of Haifa…in Haifa. It is the 3rd largest city in Israel and sits on the Mediterranean coast in the northern part of the country. In fact, the city sits on a bit of a peninsula so it has coastline on three sides of the city. It’s also built on a mountain, Mount Carmel. Apparently you develop killer calf muscles from all the hiking you do just walking around town. The university is location on top of Mount Carmel and backs into Mount Carmel National Park.

Q: Are you Jewish?

A: No

Q: Why Holocaust Studies?

A: I’ve always been interested in World War II history, especially the Holocaust. Much like many kids before me, my interested in the subject was originally sparked after someone gave me a well worn copy of Anne Frank’s Diary in fourth grade. My family is originally from Germany, although most of them immigrated to the US by the late 1800s but my own family could have just as easily been smack in the middle of history. Around that same time I discovered that a close family friend grew up in Berlin during the war and had so many jaw dropping stories to share – I wanted to know more.

Q: You are in your 30s, why do you need a Master’s degree now?

A: I work in the field of International Education. Having an advanced degree is pretty standard, in fact, I’m close to the point where I can advance no further without one. Plus, I’ve always wanted to get a master’s degree.

Q: Why do you want to leave? Can’t you just get your degree here?

A: I don’t want to leave but this is a simple way to accomplish my goal quickly and inexpensively. I do get free tuition from UNR as a faculty member but I travel too much to be able to take advantage of it. In order to get a degree using the free tuition, I’d have to work only part time and no traveling for two years. Not to mention fit in all that studying with all my other obligations. I am hoping that by doing an intensive degree abroad – I can use my time away to just focus on my degree. Of course, I will miss my family and friends very much but I will be back.

Q: When do you leave/when will you be back?

A: My program starts October 21st. I will leave a week before that. My program finishes in September 2013. I will return shortly after that.

Q: What about your job? Did you quit?

A: I am incredibly lucky that I work for fantastically supportive people. They have granted me a one year leave of absence, in order to complete this degree. They will hire someone to cover my position for the year that I am gone. I am very thankful to be allowed to do this. I love my job and didn’t want to leave it but getting this degree was very important to me.

Well, that covers a few questions. I’ll add more as they occur to me. Until I leave in October 2012 – this blog will just be covering preparations. I promise it will get more interesting once I jump on the plane. In the meantime, thanks for reading!