Archive for the ‘Study Abroad Logistics’ Category


TLV: The Perfect Stay-cation

March 10, 2012

I write this from a PC in an apartment in Old Jaffa. The computer and apartment belong to a friend, Smadar, who is a fellow student at the Academy. I came out here with my good friend, Elly, to celebrate Purim, which is like Jewish Halloween.


Purim Dance Party


I must say that this three days spent in Tel Aviv was amazing. There’s something about staying in someone’s home that obviously trumps staying at a hostel to spend a few nights out of Jerusalem. Aside from saving money, it was great to be able to cook our own meals, shower privately, and not have to worry about the other guests staying in your domitory-style hostel room. Elly and I rented bicycles, explored parts of Old Jaffa, spent some hours on the beaches in Tel Aviv, and went out to eat a few times.


Photo courtesy of Elly Hollenhorst


It was pleasant to get away from Jerusalem for the weekend and feel at home in a different city, just a short bus ride away. I hope to be able to do it again soon. Thank you so much, Smadar!



P.S. The only regret is that I didn’t bother to bring my running shoes with me. The weather was PERFECT for it!

P.P.S. Can we just acknowledge that just a week ago, I was blogging about snow?


Sh*t Anglos in Israel Say

March 3, 2012


The recently popular video Internet meme based off Shit Girls Say has found its way to Israel with this one. It’s one of the better ones I’ve seen and paints a close picture of English speakers and their cultural incongruencies living in Israel. Enjoy.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Snow in Jerusalem

March 2, 2012

I woke up this morning to flurries outside my window.

I have been told that if you’re out in Jerusalem and it snows, you should get home immediately. The public transportation shuts down and some main roads close because the city doesn’t have enough support to maintain the roads. It’s a shame that I didn’t do my grocery shopping earlier this week! It’s a double shame that such a snow day has to be wasted at the end of the week.



It snows here very rarely. Outside my window, I saw people scraping from the dustings of snow to make snowballs. If only they knew a good New Jersey blizzard. I regret not being closer to the Old City to take some photos. All the awesome sights must be neat dusted with snow, especially the Western Wall.

Check out this blog for a compilation of great photos of Jerusalem with a substantial amount of snow.


UPDATE, 8:30am:  I think I spoke too soon. It started coming down like crazy…\


UPDATE, 9:00am:  We leave the warmth of our dorm to do some grocery shopping.

Photo credit: Michaela Burns

Kyle bought snow-dusted roses from our favorite guy.

Kfar HaStudentim from the North Gate.

Broken umbrella, happy people.

Carlo, Kyle, and Elly, bundled up!


UPDATE, 10:00am:  The sun comes out, and it’s a nice day. Just like that…

10:00am - The sun comes out to ruin our fun.

10:00am - It was truly short lived.



change of perspective, change in approach

January 28, 2012

I feel guilty I have not blogged in a while.

After some reflection, I discovered that this is merely because I am comfortable where I am, on many levels. I have gotten used to living in Jerusalem. The public transportation is easy to maneuver. I know what to do if I get lost. I have settled on some daily rituals. Coffee and oatmeal in the mornings, running three times a week, early commutes to the Academy, collective dinners with friends/flatmates, laundry every Shabbat.

Upon arrival in Jerusalem in early September—just five short months ago—I was not sure when I would reach this state of equilibrium. I feared that the views I see from outside my window, during my commutes and on my runs, of the Old City and valleys of Arab neighborhoods, would become commonplace. They have. It’s a common sight to look out of my living room window to see the Dome of the Rock. I don’t take nearly as many photos as I did those months ago.

Our friends enrolled in one-semester programs are almost all gone. These people traveled with us on our first experiences Tel Aviv, Haifa, the Tishbi Winery, Shuk Mahane Yehuda, and all our favorite corners of Jerusalem. They leave us here to continue their lives back home or elsewhere abroad. A number of us are here for five more months yet. And with the coming of a wave of new Spring semester study abroad students, and among them five new Dance Jerusalemites, I can’t help the feeling of being awarded veteran status here.

What does this mean? Well, with the change of perspective must come a change in my approach to blogging. This blog no longer serves me as merely a place to report all of my new tourist findings in Israel. It begs to go deeper. How do I feel? What am I actually learning? Perhaps it is time to actually discuss dance. This sounds good.

Of course, if anyone has any questions or would like me to write about something specific, don’t hesitate to ask. That would be fun, too.


With that, good day and shabbat shalom.

קרלו – Carlo


Israel did not steal my wallet.

November 26, 2011

I take full responsibility for having lost my wallet. Perhaps I was careless about which pocket to put it in or where on my body I was carrying my bag. But since I was walking in the crowded Old City today, I don’t rule out the fact that it might have been stolen.

In my wallet, I had my New Jersey driver’s license, my Rutgers ID, my Rothberg International School ID, my debit card, my credit card, a Blockbuster card, a Stop and Shop gift card, my coffee punch card for the cafe at the Academy. I also lost a traveler’s check and a sum of cash.

I was NOT carrying my US Passport and my health insurance card, so those items are still safe.

Here are the steps I took once I realized my wallet was missing:

  • I retraced my steps in the Old City and asked the shopkeepers if they had seen it.
  • I reported the incident to the police—and half in Hebrew!
  • When I got back to the kfar, I called the bank to cancel the cards and had replacements sent to my home in New Jersey.
  • I emailed the Office of Student Activities to ask what I should do for temporary and replacement identification around campus.
  • I emailed my parents to explain the situation, so they could forward my new cards to Jerusalem.

Even though I usually find my wallet when I misplace it, I wasn’t upset in deciding that my wallet was lost for good this time. I think the most upsetting thing was that the wallet itself had sentimental value.

And even though I remained level-headed about losing my wallet, many thoughts still ran through my mind. After I had backtracked the day’s events to the last moment I had my wallet, I began to visit all of the day’s events. I wondered, “Would I have done that if I knew my wallet would end up missing?” I listed.

  • Would I have kept my wallet in my pocket instead of my bag?
  • Would I have carried my bag a different way?
  • Would I have picked this day to randomly buy souvenirs?
  • Would I have spent money on chocolate?
  • Would I have agreed to go to the Old City?
  • Would I have taken out less money at the ATM?
  • Would I have tipped the tour guide?
  • Would I have left the apartment at all this morning?
  • Would I have done my laundry today instead?
  • Would I have just stayed in bed?

I let my mind wander to these places. And when I crossed the idea of staying in bed, I stopped. My mind was going somewhere I knew was ridiculous. I laughed and said, “Oh yeah.”

“This is why I’m so understanding…” So I lost my wallet. It’s okay. You can’t live your life scared that something’s going to happen to you, or that you’re going to make a mistake. Things happen, and you learn from them. There are always solutions to your problems. And if not, there are always ways around them.

Also, I just KNEW there was a reason why I decided to collect the Internet bills late from everyone, and why my roommates were taking their time getting back to me. It looks like I won’t be completely out of money. Things have a funny way of working themselves out.

I consider this a [self-indulgent?] spiritual experience, but I digress.


Is it cold, Carlo?

November 24, 2011

I was sure I overpacked bringing five pairs of pants to Israel. I thought I was silly for packing my long sleeve athletic shirts. I even laughed at myself for bringing as many long sleeves and sweaters as I did. Boy, did I have the weather figured all wrong! Only three months after my arrival in Israel, the weather has gotten COLD. Yes, folks. It’s cold in Jerusalem.

Yes, the weather in Israel is Mediterranean, but mainly near the Mediterranean Sea. That includes places like Haifa, Tel Aviv, and the Gaza Strip (which we’re not supposed to visit anyway). The weather is different half an hour eastward, in Jerusalem. The Student Village is on Mount Scopus, in the desert. Naturally, it gets cold at night. We’re also entering the rainy season, much like the Northern California Bay Area does this time of year. I haven’t worn shorts outside for a couple weeks now, and I regret not having thick sweaters, a proper coat, a cozy winter scarf, and my more substantial boots!

Hebrew trivia:  “Is it cold?” translates to “קר לו?” or “Car lo?”

It even got so cold last week that I got sick. My body even ran a fever on Shabbat. Might I add… I completely forgot to pack any sorts of medications. I didn’t anticipate getting sick, so I didn’t have any of those things on hand. But with the care of my friends (and their sick-day supplies), I got better and only had to miss one class.

A word to the wise study abroad-ers:  organize your sick day items. This of course includes whatever medications and remedies you care to bring or purchase upon arriving here, but you should also include the items that make you feel comfortable when you’re feeling weak. For me, that could’ve been a teddy bear or a favorite snack food.


We’re in the full swing of things.

November 14, 2011

I apologize. I hadn’t given a proper introduction to my semester!

The first week was like any first week of any semester. First came the dance classes, the introductions, the explanations. Then came the soreness. Then came the slight lack of sleep. Then the trying to balance things out. I did some rearranging in my schedule, some time negotiation… I’ve kept myself pretty busy.



  • Ballet 4 with Jay Augen
  • Repertory 4 with Melanie Berson
  • Choreography 4 with Melanie Berson
  • Gaga 1/2 with Aya Israeli
  • Ballet 2 with Mate Moray
  • Cunningham 4 with Moran Dekel
  • Graham Repertory 4 with Batia Cohen
  • Academic:  Hasidism with Dr. E. Shore
  • Academic:  Issues in Israeli Society with Yoni Kaplan
  • Ballet 2 with Mate Moray
  • Graham 3 with Batia Cohen
  • Choreography 4 with Melanie Berson
  • Ballet 4 with Alexander Alexandrov
  • Jerusalem Academy Dance Ensemble rehearsal
  • Ballet 4 with Jay Augen
  • Cunningham 3 with Moran Dekel
  • Academic:  Hasidism with Dr. E. Shore
  • Academic:  Issues in Israeli Society with Yoni Kaplan
  • Rehearsal for my choreography
  • Ballet 3 with Alexander Alexandrov
  • Repertory 3 with Amir Kolben
  • Jerusalem Academy Dance Ensemble rehearsal
Unfortunately, my production class was cancelled because the instructor left. I hope I can do some production work during the year somehow. Other than that, there you have it, folks… I’ll give you more updates whenever I can squeeze it in!