Part of going away to boarding school is taking advantage of the immersion into the new place you are transported to. There is a cultural exploration aspect that must be met through travel in order for the feeling of fulfillment to be satisfied. In boarding school, though permission is still often needed, there is more freedom to go out and see what else there is beyond the school campus. The opportunity to leave and investigate the foreign surroundings allows for further immersion into wherever you might be living during the duration of your time abroad.
Before the opportunity presented itself, I would have never thought to pursue studying abroad in Israel. Based on the limited and biased news coverage, there is a void of knowledge about what is happening in the rest of the world. By going to a boarding school in a different country you become exposed to all a nation has to offer. The lifestyle, culture, politics, and conflicts all become much more relevant once the step is taken into the world known before only through broadcasted information and if you are lucky, personal stories.
Being immersed in a country surrounded by its local people yields a more personal and accurate idea of all that is occurring throughout the state. This is in comparison to being halfway around the world, and being spoon fed information that may not even be 100 percent accurate. This is especially true in my home country, which does not always display everything that happens here in Israel, as well as the surrounding Mena region, in a very positive light. Yet, I still sit here writing away in the very country that many people urged me to avoid going to.
Those who knew of my plan to come study in Israel for two years were skeptical, to say the least. Drilled into my head are the questions I remember people asking me over and over again, “Will you come back? Will you have to wear a headscarf? Just don’t get married to some Arab prince, okay?” Some of them were scared that I would never return home. It made me both angry and sad that so many people were completely unaware of the culture of the place I was going to. Because of this, I told myself I would try to see as much of the area as possible, to gain a better understanding and spread the knowledge that I had acquired to those less informed.
This is why I am so excited to announce that EMIS will have its first ever project week during the beginning of March. Project week allows all the students to initiate projects in small groups, then go out and put them into action. Dependent on the project there is the opportunity to explore many different parts of Israel. The week requires that students be self sufficient and work together without an adult to create something that will be remembered. It allows students to roam free with a limited set of guidelines and thrive in the new and different surroundings.
Though project week is still in the planning stages, it will surely be a success. Each group is required to document their adventure in one way or another, as well as articles being written as per usual on the trips dependent on where the writers travel. This way all parts of project week will be kept for memories and allowing everyone to see what was done. As long as we, the students, work hard to achieve our aims it will surely be something to look upon fondly for many years to come.
Written by: Emily Perotti
Edited by: Eng Ea and Alisa Sophie Rasch