I remember signing up for Alexander Muss last year and worrying that four months might be too long to be away from home. Now I have less than a month left in Israel and I'm definitely not ready to leave. The time has passed so quickly and I'm already getting sad thinking about all the people I'll miss. Back home, I have my own room and all my siblings have moved out. I did school online almost all of sophomore year because of Covid. At Alexander Muss, I share my room with 5 other girls, my bathroom with 14, and my living room with the whole school. I go on trips around the country multiple times a week and I feel like I'm always learning and growing.
Before going to Alexander Muss, I had only been away from my parents for two or three nights at a time, usually at a friend's house in the same city. All of a sudden, I was across the world, facing 4 months on my own. It was scary and harder than I expected. It took me a little time to get adjusted to the intensive schedule and constant social life, but no I can’t imagine being without it. My roommates and I had to learn how to respect each other and solve our disagreements in a small space, without being able to ignore it. I had to learn how to manage my very limited time properly. I had to learn to solve my own problems and conflicts. Most importantly, I had to do all of these things on my own. I call my parents for advice, and it has often been very useful, but with the time difference, we don’t have very much time to talk. They couldn’t solve any of my problems for me and I learned to work through them myself. I became so much more independent through this program. I’ve learned how to live on my own and I feel a lot more prepared for my future.
I’ve also learned so much about Israel these past three months. I came here with an already strong connection to Israel from visiting many times and a strong family connection, but I never learned the history of Israel in an organized way. I understand so much more about Israel, both before exile and after the State was founded. I understand how to advocate for my country and how it was created. I have grown and learned so much thanks to this program and I can’t wait to experience my next month of growth!