Student Spotlight: Jennifer Oliver

By Jennifer Oliver, a student of MA program in Jewish Studies, 2017-2018 Cohort.

As a librarian and middle school English literature teacher in America, I was surrounded by books about people who had traveled this world and experienced astounding adventures. In my mind, I journeyed with these bold characters page after page; but in reality, I remained in a small town in North Carolina. With a husband and four children, wasn’t it too late for me to dream about such exploits? That’s precisely what I thought.

First Day at Haifa University_Jennifer
Jennifer on her first day of class

But, my perceptions began to change after perusing websites of universities for master’s programs, discovering the International School at the University of Haifa. I started by emailing a few questions.

To my surprise, I received responses to every question with lightning speed. Compared to a Master’s program in America, the price was reasonable and the location breathtaking. The admissions process was simplified with their help, and emails continued to come throughout the summer, preparing for my arrival in October.

Moving an entire family from the USA to Israel for a year wasn’t exactly a simple process. In fact, at one point I nearly backed out. But, with encouragement from family and constant communication from the university, thankfully I didn’t give up. The fact is that this is turning out to be so much more than obtaining a degree. It’s a cultural experience getting to know Israeli’s and other students from all over the world.

Opening Day at Haifa University_Jennifer
Opening day on the Mount Carmel campus

It’s a linguistic journey learning how to communicate in Hebrew and recognize some Arabic. It’s a historical expedition as I learn about the antiquity of this land and my own people, the Jewish people. That’s right, I’m Jewish and for far too long I didn’t delve deep into my own roots until now. University of Haifa has become the avenue through which I can grow and research.

 

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