Friday, October 31, 2014

BYU v. University of Haifa

After finishing my first week of classes, I've been thinking about the differences between this new college experience and my former one. Since most of you probably won't be weird like me and attend college in a foreign country, I made a little list of ten of the differences I've come up with so far.

10. No sports. I included this because not all Americans realize that college sports is solely an American thing. Too bad; I can only imagine the epic rivalries between Israeli and Palestinian universities haha.

9. Weather. I actually like Utah’s weather. I’m kind of sad to not get a real winter this year (good thing I’m going home for Christmas though!). However, the weather is gorgeous here right now. It’s just about 80 and sunny with a fresh ocean breeze. So I’m dealing with it for now (but I’m missing my fall wardrobe!).

8. Security. Something weird to get used to in Israel are all of the security checks. Every time you go on campus they search your bag, and every time you enter the dorms you have to show your ID.

7. Schedule. The school week starts on Sunday, and I have classes all day Sunday! It's kind of weird but church is on Saturday anyway so it doesn't really matter.

6. The hair. No one is blond. As compared to BYU which kind of looks like someone cloned a bunch of Swedish people. Also, way not as many people are balding. I’m weirdly obsessed with understanding why so many BYU men start balding when they’re like 21, so I noticed this right away.

5. Language. Duh! That’s an obvious difference. I’m surrounded by Hebrew here. My classes are in English, but I still hear Hebrew all around me on campus. Several times I’ve been so thankful that I can read Hebrew, since that’s what all the signs on campus are written in. I can’t imagine how lost I would be without that random skill I have. 

4. The view. The Provo mountains are pretty sometimes depending on the season, but I was never a fan of the view from campus. I know people that are from the mountains love seeing this, but to me they were always just these big brown lumps that made me feel claustrophobic.

3. There’s NO Mormons! Besides me :). That means no tunnel singing (!!!!!!!), no listening to people’s long-winded mission stories, no one trying to out-righteous one another, no grown men building a fort and having a Disney movie sleepover together (okay, I only heard about that happening one time but I’m still scarred)... and many other things. In general I think this is definitely a positive. It's just more interesting.

2. On a related note, there’s no Prohibition here in Haifa. They don’t just sell caffeine on campus, they sell alcohol right in the dorms commons room. People take smoking breaks during class. That's fine, but it’s so weird to me and I’m totally not used to it. I realized that I’ve actually NEVER lived with a non-Mormon before haha. #byuprobs

1. I guess one of the biggest differences is just having so many international professors and students. I think all of my professors are Israeli, but some of them are originally from other places. The students in my program are from all over the world, which is pretty fun. At BYU I had lots of French professors from France, but that's about it. That's another positive of studying in a foreign country!

So in general, I like it here so far. It's pretty overwhelming getting used to everything, but I'm content to be here and start my program! I survived my first week of classes. I've really liked most of them, but I'm already getting a little scared for all of the huge papers I'll have to write. Oh well, at least I have to write huge papers while living here in this exciting country.

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