But once it was time to leave for Israel, I was overwhelmed by all the departing gifts my friends gave me, as well as the time they set aside to spend it with me before I left. I realized that despite my initial fears, I had found a community within my cohort in the program.

If there’s anything I would want you all to take away from my journey, it is this: challenge yourself a little bit every day, and to be open to others’ thoughts. Fight the natural urge to assume what they are thinking. And when it comes to pursuing goals, remember that journeys will look different for everyone; there’s no need to compare your own past experiences to the one you’re currently going through. The important thing is to make the most out of your current experience, so there can be no need to look sideways or backwards into the past.

Thank you all for following along with me, as I retold my experiences from last year’s spring. My experience in Israel is one I hold dear to my heart to this day: I met the most wonderful people, learned so much about the region and its complexity and managed to challenge myself in ways I never thought I could. I sincerely hope you can all strive to have the opportunity to study abroad in the future if you get the chance--to find and explore  a place where you can expand your academic interests and get to know yourself a little bit better, as I was able to do with the Arava Valley of southern Israel.