By Uta Freyer, an alumna of MA program in Peace and Conflict Management, 2013-2014 Cohort.
Originally From: Germany
Age: 34 years old
Currently Living: Berlin, Germany
Previous Education: BA Educational Sciences in Germany
Current Occupation: I work as an Educational counselor for Refugees in Berlin
How did you find the program at the University of Haifa?
I cannot answer this with only a few words! The program was amazing and the year in Haifa was the best year of my life. My class was the best! The team at the International School managed to create the perfect class, around 20 classmates from all over the world, from all continents, warm, colourful, creative people, different academic backgrounds.
The academic level was perfect. It was challenging and had high requirements, but I learned so much. The professors were great. They are much more relaxed than we are used to professors in Germany, that does not mean they are not experts and work on a high level! But, they met us face to face, very personally, warm, interested. The mix of the lessons was also good. We could choose many courses, that helped me to get more experience in the fields I was interested in and so I had high motivation. Last but not least, we had several field trips to very interesting spots all over Israel, with different topics. And a great internship in Tel Aviv.
Why did you decide to come to Haifa?
I wanted to study Peace and Conflict Studies abroad. There was only UK and US, and both were not interesting for me. Plus Haifa! For me there was no question. I wanted to study in the Middle East. I wanted to see another culture, I wanted adventure and experience. Also I though that studying P&C right in the center of the conflict helps me to get a deep understanding of the roots of the conflicts, and that came true.
How has your degree from the University of Haifa helped you in your professional/academic career?
The structure of the program enabled me to choose topics that were challenging and interesting for me. I come from an education background and did not know so much about politics. To write a policy paper was hard for me, but in the end I was so proud. The spectrum of courses was huge and that’s why I gained so much knowledge – the conflict in Middle East is complex and so were the courses. What I also appreciated was the didactics. The teaching methods were diversified and we had to work self-organized with speeches, conferences, student-led courses like Model UN etc. That’s much more fun than only professors’ lectures!
All together, I can say that my B.A. from home was only the very beginning. Only in my Masters I learned what it really means to work on a high academic level.
During this year, I gained experience in different aspects and issues, also because of the environment: the conflict in Middle East is so complex, and I learned a lot about politics. In my Masters I really pushed my academic level and that improved my self-confidence, also as a woman, to make an international career.
The year in Haifa was hard and the context was not easy, but anyways it was the best year in my life, and in the end I was so proud of myself.
All together, I have a big thanks to the International Team – and to the beauty of the country!