Report ze studijního pobytu
Autor: Anna Cihlová, absolventka oboru Aplikovaná ekologie
Israel. From the moment I stepped off the plane, this Mediterranean country enticed me with its rich history, rugged, but beautiful nature and kind, independent people. When any traveler arrives in Israel, they experience firsthand an internationally enriched middle eastern culture. Although I was quite nervous and anxious before leaving my hometown of Prague, studying in Israel quickly became my clear choice. Far outside my comfort zone, I embraced the challenges that arose with being the first student from the Faculty of Environmental Sciences to study abroad in Israel.
My host university, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, is situated in the city of Be’er Sheva, roughly an hour drive south from Tel Aviv. The university was named after David Ben-Gurion, the founder and first prime minister of the State of Israel. This university is divided into two campuses: the main campus in Be’er Sheva and a satellite campus in Sede Boqer. While Sede Boqer is extremely remote – roughly 400 residents of mostly students – it offers one of the best environmental programmes throughout Israel. While living in Israel, I stayed in Be’er Sheva and commuted to the satellite campus in Sede Boqer for classes each day, which was about a 40 minutes bus ride each way. This daily commute gave me the experience of living in both the city and desert. I have never experienced such silence and solitude before coming to Sede Boqer.
During the semester, I met so many interesting people of different cultures and backgrounds, each holding to the same objective: to enjoy their time and experience all that Israel has to offer. There were 35 people in our international group, most hailing from Germany and Italy. I was the only Czech student, but this allowed me to concentrate on practicing the common language, English. Our different backgrounds did not prevent us from creating deep, lasting friendships. I was especially lucky because my roommate was Israeli, bringing pure, Israeli traditions directly to my home!
In my experience, The Ben-Gurion University allowed students to choose their own schedule according to their interest, but the only courses taught in English were at the master’s level. Each class usually lasted around 2-2.5 hours straight-through with only one break in-between. In my time there, I never had a class with more than 10 people. The whole concept of education at BGU was personal, motivating, and mainly concentrated on fieldwork. The final exams were mostly final assignments, with around 10 pages of written text, accompanied with a presentation. The written papers greatly improved my English writing, while the presentation enhanced my rhetoric skills.
I look forward to returning because every visit to Israel offers a brand-new experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to have experienced even a part of it.