Returning to Israel

By Charlie

Though I enjoyed my winter break at home, I was ready to come back to Israel for the second semester of my gap year. Luckily, the quarantine requirements upon arrival to Israel became looser during the weeks that I was home. I originally expected to quarantine for seven days when I got back to Israel, but not long before my flight, the quarantine was reduced to just 24 hours. I stayed at an Airbnb with a friend on my program for my quarantine, then joined my program at KibbutzKetura, a kibbutz near Eilat in the south. A kibbutz is an Israeli settlement where everyone’s income is shared by the greater kibbutz community. Kibbutz Ketura is unique because it was founded by American students on Year Course, the same program that I am on, in 1973.

After staying at Kibbutz Ketura, I moved into my room for the semester in Tel Aviv. I am with two other people in a room that is about the same size as a typical college dorm. After less than a month here, I have already begun to acquire skills that will be invaluable at Duke, reaffirming my belief that taking a gap year was the right decision for me. When I was in Jerusalem first semester, I always either ate at a cafeteria, went out, or ordered food. However, there is a kitchen here in Tel Aviv just outside my room, and I make almost every meal in it with my friends. Some of my favorites are cheesy eggs and chicken stir fry. Even though I may not be able or have time to cook for myself and my friends my first year at Duke, I know this skill will come in handy at some point during my four years in college.

I am also getting experience in living with roommates, and I have become close friends with both of them. I am prepared and even excited to live with other people at Duke as a result of my time this gap year. Other than academics, this gap year has prepared me for almost everything I expect to face at Duke. I am glad I took the time to consider a gap year, and I recommend high school seniors consider the possibility as well.