Shalom! My name is Cassidy Craford and I’m a fourth year majoring in Sustainable Environmental Design with a minor in Jewish Studies. I spent the entirety of my third year abroad in Israel, completely immersed in the complexity of the Middle East. It was, undoubtedly, the most transformative experience of my life thus far!
Since I was little, I had always known that I wanted to study abroad for a full year. When it came time to decide where to go, Israel provided me with the opportunity to study a subject I love in a unique country that I had connections to, but had never visited myself. I jumped at the opportunity!
As it turned out, living in Israel for the year was all I had wished for and more. I studied at a university in the southern desert, learning about energy management, transboundary water negotiations, minority groups in Israel, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On weekends I would escape the intense heat of the desert and head north to cities along the sea, explore museums, cook Shabbat dinners or hike through Israel’s stunning scenery. Everywhere I turned— from the local grocery store to Jerusalem’s ancient Old City— I found myself reevaluating my beliefs on human rights, religion, tradition, politics, and humanity. I was pushed to think critically, not only about Israel and its actions but about myself and where I fit in the rest of the world. These elements of self-discovery are what I loved most about my year abroad.
I can’t recommend studying abroad enough. My year in Israel was the ultimate proof that immersing yourself fully within a society can instill in you lessons that no textbook can teach. I hope to encourage others to take the initiative to study abroad and experience the same feelings. Whether you’re interested in studying abroad for a year, or just for a few weeks (or maybe you’re not interested in studying abroad at all, yet), I hope I can help you find a program that suits your needs and provides you with lessons that will last a lifetime.
Lehitraot! Yalla bye!