Student Exchange, UConn University
My name is Noa Sagie, and I am studying entrepreneurship and business administration in my third year.
Since I can remember, student exchange has always been my dream. Even before I knew what degree I wanted and where I would study, I knew I would fly to study abroad.
I am writing two and a half months into the semester at UConn from Connecticut, US.
When I entered this experience, I didn't know what to expect, and I don't think I could have imagined how special it would be.
I'll start by telling a little about the university. UConn is a public university that sits in Storrs, CT, and what characterizes this place is that it has nothing!
This is a city in the middle of nowhere that is all campus, the bars are on the university grounds, and shops and restaurants surround it. The university contains 32,000 students and is 18 km2 in size (almost 3/4 of Herzliya). It is an open university, meaning no fences at all.
One of the fun things about UConn is that they are good at sports, especially basketball. When there are games, the atmosphere is crazy. There are the cheerleaders, the band, the activities, the crazy crowds, and everything you see in the movies (I won a shirt and a hat).
The educational experience in the states is very different from the experience in Israel and teaches a lot.
There are many difficulties, and I won't lie, when I looked at the timetable, I had no idea how much I would study here.
The papers, tests, articles, presentations, and homework create a challenging and intense routine, and everything is in English!
But what's fun here is that you can always find a balance and go on the weekends to all the nearby countries (New York is two and a half hours away, and Boston is an hour and a half).
In two and a half months, I traveled to many states and learned a lot, which is something extraordinary about this country.
Beyond studies and trips, there is also the American Culture. Yes, yes, everything you imagine happens here. Greek life (fraternities and sororities), wild parties, and kids who could go to the army but ask you to buy them drinks.
But what is interesting about this culture is how with all the craziness, they are so polite and serious when it comes to studies.
A pleasant and reassuring thing in this region is their acceptance of Israel and the Jews. The Jewish community here is powerful, and there is also a popular Jewish fraternity (although almost no one there is Jewish).
I feel secure in my identity here and am not afraid to talk about Israel.
I want to talk about the fact that student exchange, specifically in the US, is an experience that is only suitable for some. It requires a lot from you. You must come with an open mind, deal with pressure, and deal with academic difficulties. There are a lot of financial expenses here, and you must adapt yourself to the culture here (and you also need endurance to the cold).
The most important thing is to have proportion and positive thinking because that way, you will only benefit from the exchanges!
The experience introduces me to new friends daily, improves my English, and puts me in new and challenging situations.
I learned new things about myself that will continue with me for years to come.
I am thankful for the opportunity to go through this crazy experience.
It will be tough to leave, but I know this is not the end, only that next time, it will be an MBA.