If you were to study abroad, where would go? Most people would find a nice school in Paris, or London, maybe even Germany. Few people indeed would choose to go to Israel, or anywhere in the strife filled Middle East. This is exactly what Maxwell Wallach, a sophomore at the time, who attends Providence Day School did.
When asked why he chose Israel for a trip to study abroad, Mr. Wallach said that “ I had to see more after the trip with my family.”. It is important to note that he had previously spent a month in Israel with family. While in Israel Max spent most of his time sightseeing. He said that he couldn't choose a favorite part because everything was interesting. There was a saddest part, however; and this was seeing Poland. This was deeply saddening and emotional for Max, seeing so much about the holocaust.
Max didn't seem overly concerned with the danger to his person due to the Israel Palestine conflict. This was because the group’s schedule was fluid, and would change based on where attacks from Palestine occurred. In addition Max went so far as to say “ I felt safer there because of the military presence than in the US.”. This was after explaining that it was common to see soldiers walking around with m16 assault rifles.
As for the culture and feel of Jerusalem max said “It felt like a fast paced city in the US, larger than Charlotte, much like New York.”. While there Max and his fellow students stayed at a hotel in a kibbutz in Jerusalem, he said that while there wasn't anything clearly different between the US and Israel it simply felt different. Adding to this effect was that almost everybody there spoke english, Max did, however; manage to pick up on some hebrew.
There was very little time for these students to sit around because they were spending two days a week sight seeing. When I asked Max what kinds of places he visited, before further elaboration, he simply stated, “every kind”. What he went on to explain was that they had a somewhat close daytrip every tuesday and a further day trip every thursday where they got to explore. There were also some trips that out of necessity took more than a day, in order to cover the full scope of the sights offered by Israel.
Most of the places that Max toured, while not directly religious sights had some sort of place in religious literature. This is because they were mentioned in religious texts and used as evidence in the modern era. This isn’t to say that everything that Max experienced was serious. Additionally there was the opportunity to experience different holidays, the celebration of some included partying in the streets with dj’s on each corner.
Overall to summarize max’s interview with me, this trip was a college esc multicultural immersion. It seems to be a truly unique experience and Max said “I would strongly recommend this to anyone who’s even the slightest bit interested.”.
Pictures provide by Max Wallach