This article is about Anna from Austria’s journey at EMIS.
Anna wrote a German article posted in the renowned Spiegel newspaper, which can be found by clicking on this link: http://www.spiegel.de/schulspiegel/ausland/austausch-nach-israel-wiener-schuelerin-im-mega-internat-a-1016310.html
Posted on Spiegel February 10, 2015.
Everything is different: After 111 days in Israel, student Anna, 17, gets closer to coming home. The Austrian embassy stole her vision, and the family visit in Vienna felt different than usual.
I now have two homes: the boarding school in Israel, and my parents’ home in Vienna. I am always yearning to be in the place that I am not. If I eat hummus or falafel in Israel I am always thinking back to my mom’s different dishes. But, if I go for a visit in quiet Austria I miss being together with my three roommates and 80 classmates.
After 111 days in Israel, I had the first opportunity to return to Austria to visit my family. Originally, a student from Tanzania who couldn’t fly home was planning to accompany me. In order to get the visa, we drove to the Austrian embassy in Tel Aviv. The workers at the embassy spoke to us in three different languages: German to me, English to my classmate, and Hebrew to our houseparent. I actually felt a little at home at the embassy, so much that I felt like I was back in Austria. Yet, the refusal of my friend’s visa was a vast disappointment. In the past few months, I have learned to get along with students from 35 nationalities. Everyone here has the same rights and rules to follow. But outside the campus, the country you come from has a big influence and, unfortunately, not everyone is treated equally.
And Suddenly Silence
Therefore, I flew without my Tanzanian friend, and it was only me and my other Austrian classmate. The airplane was a pathway between our current everyday lives, back to our old everyday lives; a change between worlds. Everyday life, what is that now? The one that I have lived since September? Or the one that I used to live the fifteen years prior?
The pleasure was grand, the family was affectionate, and my friends in Vienna were the same as before. My room looked exactly the same, but bigger than I remembered. My habits changed, and my own bed, which I missed at the beginning, was a pleasure to be in again. Meanwhile, I consider my bed in Hakfar Hayarok comfortable as well. I was able to adapt fast, and I thought it would be more challenging to live with three other girls; Asia, Europe and the Middle East all represented together in a room.
Then there was the tranquility of Vienna. On campus, there is rarely tranquility, and the only time it is found is on Friday or Saturday morning; the Israeli weekend. It makes a difference if you are constantly surrounded by 80 people, or just your own family.
After two weeks home, I embarked on the plane to return to Israel. My thoughts were scrambled in my head; they were in Austria, in Israel, and everywhere in between. The idea of staying in Vienna passed my mind. But, then the longing for my life at EMIS increased tremendously. Before my trip home to Austria, the anticipation was grand. When I arrived in Vienna, I was looking forward to my home at the Eastern Mediterranean International School.
Written by Anna Kraeftner
Translated from German by Anna Kraftner and Hannah Cook
Cross edited Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe