My first month of study in Israel has been extremely intense. While in the first few days I had the
chance to visit some important sites in Haifa and in Jerusalem, the work began immediately after
this. One of the requirements to enter the university was to complete an intensive Hebrew course
called an “Ulpan”, where I had 5 hours of Hebrew instruction every day.
I was placed in a higher level than I expected, and for the first few days worked to catch up with my
peers, but eventually at the end of the Ulpan I finished with a 90%, which was very good considering
my disadvantage at the start of the term.
Life in Jerusalem can be difficult. The city is governed by quasi-Jewish law, there are no publicservices, transport or shops open on Shabbat, lasting around 24 hours on the weekend, which makeslife tough, especially because there is only two days in the weekend. Also, living on top of Mt Scopus, with no transport links can make you feel stranded at times.
Jerusalem has many groups within it, and I am lucky to have made friends with people from Arab, Jewish and International communities. I think I still prefer my life in Amman, but the opportunity to speak both languages I am learning, sometimes in the same conversation is a great boost and a realistic reflection of how will use my languages in the future.
While I am not certain how I feel about Jerusalem yet, I’m excited to see how this period will develop my language skills.