The Kibbutz Ulpan program provided me with the means to build an authentic connection with Israel in a warm and welcoming environment like Kibbutz Revivim.
The basic Kibbutz Ulpan volunteer schedule breaks the week into three days of volunteer work and three days of Hebrew ulpan study. At Revivim, I had the unique opportunity to cycle through a number of jobs, which gave me a great introduction to the various types of work that take place on a kibbutz. After working in the fields during the olive harvest season, I volunteered as a prep-chef in the kibbutz kitchen, where I actually communicated largely in Spanish with Israeli immigrants from Argentina. When my Hebrew was good enough, I was given the responsibility of helping run the after-school program for the children on the kibbutz. It was great to learn from the kids about their lives growing up on a kibbutz and to share our passion for soccer and basketball.
Even after my return from Revivim, the Kibbutz Ulpan experience has influenced my life. It inspired me academically to continue studying Hebrew and certainly influenced my decision to take two courses on politics and society in the Middle East. I view my time on the Kibbutz Ulpan at Revivim as one of the most important and meaningful experiences of my college years. It encouraged me to test a different way of life and pushed me to grow academically and personally.