By Amanda Engel
For Aaron Soff, traveling was about spending a significant amount of time in Israel. That’s why he decided to study abroad there on one of the 11 different programs offered by this university in Israel. Soff, a senior community and behavioral health major, studied in Tel Aviv last semester in the Tel Aviv University International School (Direct Enroll) program, one that is offered both semesters and during the summer term. Soff said he chose this program because it had “a wide range of activities” and he was looking for a “diverse experience.”
Cassidy Laidlaw, a junior computer science and math major, wanted something a “little more academic.” He chose a program at the Technion in Haifa that focused on computer science. Laidlaw enjoyed the academically oriented program, which attracted a diverse group of people.
While most of the programs that this university offers are housed in Tel Aviv and Haifa, there are a couple of programs located elsewhere in the country. One of the programs is a direct enrollment in Ben Gurion University of the Negev is located in Beersheba, where one would enroll directly at Ben Gurion as the university is not affiliated with University of Maryland. The other is a winter-term program that requires a kinesiology course that has a Jerusalem option.
The study abroad programs aren’t all fun and games, though. Laidlaw said that his least favorite part of the trip was the adjustment period at the beginning of his program. He added that he experienced a culture shock for the first few weeks, because he had never been abroad for a semester before.
Soff said the actual school work was his least favorite part of the study abroad experience. Soff said he didn’t experience much of a culture shock, as he had been to Israel three times before his program.
Both Soff and Laidlaw would recommend studying abroad in Israel to other students.
“It can give you everything you would want,” said Soff. “[It’s] more quality time than you would get anywhere else.”
In the 2012-2013 school year, 102 students at this university studied in the Middle East. The study abroad advisor for Israel programs could not get back to us with recent Israel-specific numbers. You can find the Israel study abroad programs that this university offers here: https://globalmaryland.umd.edu/offices/education-abroad/search-programs?title=&field_program_program_country_nid%5B%5D=19723
The deadline for many of the programs coming up this spring is Oct. 15, and the aforementioned winter program’s deadline is Oct. 10.