Washington Square News

Studying Abroad 2.0

By Tommy Collison, Contributing Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






It’s an in-joke among NYU’s international students that their study away program is a misnomer. We’re already studying abroad, having already made the trek from our home countries to NYU New York. But not ones to look gift horses in the mouth, many of us are among the 1,500 students who began the Fall 2016 semester at one of NYU’s 14 study abroad sites. Study abroad 2.0, if you will.

I’m a Journalism and Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies student, and NYU Tel Aviv allows me to take journalism classes while studying both Arabic and Hebrew. My tentative plan is to move here after graduating next spring, so I have a chance to get a lay of the land and a sense of the culture and customs of a country where almost all public transport shuts down from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

Getting out of Tel Aviv is another experience. At the end of August, I traveled with two friends to Sderot, a town about a kilometer from the Gaza Strip. The town is infamous for being the frequent target of rocket attacks from Gaza. In a gated area outside the town’s police station, there are shelves and shelves of rocket shells destroyed by the Iron Dome, Israel’s air-to-air rocket defense system.

abroad_tommycollison

My two friends and I wandered around for a while, and it was as if we were in a Twilight Zone episode with a time warp where a small town is stuck in a perpetual wake after a very sad funeral. You can take as many classes as you want on Israel and Palestine, but walking around a small Israeli town where the train station is built out of the ground because it’s also a reinforced bomb shelter gives you a visceral idea of everyday life in Israel. The NYUTA dorm, as it happens, is the only study away dorm which comes equipped with its own bomb shelter.

In the time-honored tradition of NYU study away students, I think I’m spending as much time traveling as I am in class. There’s a class trip to Jerusalem planned next weekend, while my parents, cultural Irish Catholics of the first order, want to see Bethlehem when they come to visit in two weeks. I’m planning on spending most of my fall break in Marrakesh, Morocco, to practice my Arabic.

And so I begin my first foray into the Middle East, spending my weeks in class and my weekends traveling. Tel Aviv, where the NYU campus is based, is reassuringly European in some ways and reminds me of being in France and Spain as a teenager. The weather is nice, there’s a charming cafe culture and there are innumerable young guys almost running you over riding mopeds on the sidewalk. A friend once described Israel as “half California, half Iran,” and traveling around it is very much familiar, but different.

Email Tommy Collison at [email protected]

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






About the Writer
Tommy Collison, Opinion Editor
Tommy Collison is a writer interested in privacy and the future of journalism in a post-Snowden, Google-owns-your-data world whose columns focus on the intersection of technology and student life. He is a junior in CAS for Journalism and Middle East & Islamic Studies. He’s aiming for a perfect attendance medal at 16 Handles.
Leave a Comment

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.