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Life in Jerusalem

By: Camey VanSant

By Maya

At the beginning of February, I moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to start the next phase of my gap year. In this new stage, I live on a campus with hundreds of students from around the world, take classes, and delve deeper into the different communities in Israel. Each of my classes has a different focus, whether it be Israeli politics, Arab culture, or current events in the Middle East. While those have all been very enriching, the part of my day that I most look forward to is the afternoon when I get to go on field trips to unique places throughout the city and the rest of the country. Some of the most memorable experiences have been going to a Palestinian woman’s home to discuss the current conflict with her, or to an Arab family’s house to eat a traditional meal with them and hear more about their culture. These have been especially incredible opportunities.

I have also tried to make my free time meaningful by partaking in new activities. I took a clowning class to be certified as a medical clown, and now once a week I go to a hospital near me to bring a few moments of laughter into the lives of the patients. It is so heartwarming to see even the smallest smile appear on their faces when they see me make a fool of myself. Beyond that, I have also started getting more invested in Israel’s politics and have gone to many protests against the new law the Prime Minister wants to pass. The protests are particularly interesting to me because having an Israeli father, I’ve always loved and cared about Israel, but I have never been able to take an active role in its politics.

My gap year will be ending in less than a month, so I am really trying to make the most of the time I have left and enjoy every second of it.

Categories: Maya