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Stephen Muss (Miami)

Adapting to life in Israel, as well as life at HSI, was no small challenge.

Adapting to life in Israel, as well as life at HSI, was no small challenge. The language barrier is the first obstacle one encounters when arriving in Israel. Although the vast majority of the population speaks some English, many Israelis have trouble expressing themselves as clearly as a native speaker would. In hopes of facilitating daily life, students should try their hardest to learn basic Hebrew phrases and words, such as numbers and directions. The effort it takes to commit these to memory is insignificant compared to how much it simplifies everyday life.

As I have mentioned in previous writings, the politeness is prioritized less in Israel when compared to the United States. The most prominent example of this disparity is the complete disregard for lines. This is not to say that the locals are rude; however, one must keep in mind that they should not expect to always be treated with complete courtesy. In my opinion, besides these superficial differences, life in Israel is not vastly different than in the United States; after all, people are just people no matter where they live. However, I would suggest that students never forget that they are not in their home country and be more alert and cautious than usual.

There are various aspects of campus life that one must prepare themselves for. I recommend packing several more pairs of clothes than is required; laundry, although consistent, is only collected for a short window of time on set days. If a student misses their opportunity to wash their clothes, they either have to manage with what they have or pay to have their laundry done somewhere in town. To avoid incurring unnecessary fees, students should play it safe and keep extra outfits on hand. I would recommend keeping a hefty supply of snacks, as well; meal times are, likewise, inflexible, and it is wise to have a personal stash of food. Lastly, I urge all students to air out their rooms as much as possible by opening doors and windows. Teenagers living in close quarters for extended periods of time, especially when consistently engaging in rigorous physical activity, tends to lead to an unpleasant smell in the dorms. One may also want to invest in some sort of deodorizer for the room and even clothing. If new students keep these pieces of advice in mind, they will have no trouble getting used to life abroad.