Going into my trip to Israel, there are lots of things I want to learn and experience. The following will be my attempt to narrow down goals so that I have a clear path on how to achieve them rather than a jumble of unrealistic ideas.
- Learning Hebrew: a huge goal of mine this year is to learn Hebrew. Even if I don’t return to America fluent in Hebrew, I would like to be able to understand the language, converse in it, and read/write better than I can now. Having cousins on both my maternal and paternal sides who speak English and Hebrew, I’ve always wished that I too was bilingual. Throughout my nine months in Israel, I will be taking an Ulpan (Hebrew) class to help accomplish this goal. However, I know that a class won’t be enough. I will have to practice with those around me. I will order my food in Hebrew when I go out, start conversations in Hebrew with my classmates and other Israelis that I meet, and read books or watch shows in Hebrew.
- Cultural experience: this trip will be the most time I’ve ever spent away from home and also the first time I’m truly leaving my cultural bubble. I aspire to expand my horizons, and I truly want to learn about Israeli politics and middle eastern conflicts with an open mind. I plan to accomplish this by taking electives and challenging my learning, talking to Palestinians firsthand, and delving further into the history. Aside from improving my knowledge on politics and conflicts, I plan to expand my cultural horizons by trying new foods, touring the landmarks in the country, and immersing myself in Israeli life.
- Goals for myself: as for my self growth, I would like to gain more independence and discover more of my interests. During my time in Tel Aviv, I will receive a monthly stipend for food. This will definitely help with my independence because living with my parents, I don’t often grocery shop. I do know how to cook the basics, but being on my own for food will help me to learn more. Also, while we will have counselors and staff, this will be my first time without my parents, so I will learn to be more independent by default. As for my interests, I will be interning and/or volunteering in Tel Aviv. I will have some choice as to what I do, so I plan to pick something I am interested in to hopefully narrow down what I might want to do in my future.
I am so excited for my trip to Israel, and to change and grow as a person throughout the gap year!!