Studying Abroad in Israel – Welcome

Week 1

After Wednesday morning’s Hebrew study, I and most of the international students attending the Intensive Hebrew Ulpan at the University of Haifa joined the Madrichim (superhuman residential assistants) on a tour of Haifa. As our bus wound through Haifa’s steep and snaking topography, I was surrounded by honking cars and adorable Hasidic children walking home from school; but also, like the 2015 Yamaha motorcycle leaning against the centuries-old brick, a real sense of history. As we stepped off the bus to sample one of Haifa’s authentic falafel joints, the clouds parted and the crisp January air was immediately pierced by the stiflingly hot Israeli sun.

The falafel was excellent. A blend of new, forgotten and intriguing flavors, the falafel awakened an excitement within me regarding the Mediterranean cuisine that I hadn’t felt since I visited Israel as a child.


Once our hunger pangs receded, we accompanied the Madrichim (Megan and Alon) as they took us to a few more locations.

The beautiful Bahai Gardens:


We also visited a historic church on top of Haifa:


As we walked along the cobbled sidewalks of the German Colony, Alon – a true reincarnation of Romeo – remarked at the romantic allure of virtually every restaurant and food venue we passed. While some of the outdoor diners didn’t strike as particularly romantic, perhaps food is the only criteria of romanticism. Yeah, I could get behind that.

Noah Falkner is a University of Maine student. He studied abroad in Haifa, Israel in Spring 2018. This article originally appeared on the Haifa International School website.

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