In contrast to my previous trips to Israel, my study abroad experience at Hebrew University allowed me to see the real Israel and become a part of it. Israel was no longer just a series of tourist attractions and I was not only a short-term visitor, racing to buy souvenirs wherever I went. Rather, Israel became my home during that semester, and I felt a connection to Jews everywhere who consider Israel their homeland. During that winter and spring, I began thinking in Hebrew, took part in holiday celebrations with my Israeli peers and experienced the ebb and flow of daily life. I felt a sense of comfort and belonging in Israel.
I returned to campus not only with a more grounded understanding of my studies, but with a new and more authentic love for Israel.