Building Personal Relationships in Israel

This blog post is courtesy of Aaron, an ASU Online student at ASU who participated in the ASU: Counter-Terrorism in Israel Summer 2017 program. He was also a recipient of our Study Abroad Office Travel Grant

Aaron Hands.PNG
Herod the Great

About thirty minutes passed between when I received the initial email notification about the counter-terrorism in Israel study abroad program and when my application was completed. Whether or not to participate wasn’t much of a decision at all. I wasn’t sure how I would pay for it but I knew I would find a way. Having returned from this trip approximately one month ago, I wouldn’t change a thing if I could.

As someone who travels abroad frequently for my job, and as someone who had already visited the region, I knew what to expect and wasn’t overly concerned regarding security issues. That’s not to suggest I don’t take those issues seriously, however, it’s standard operating procedure for me. Nonetheless, even had I not been on the more experienced side, I feel the ASU professors and the coordinators in Israel did a great job of preparing us for the security concerns involved with travel in Israel, and they did everything they could to ensure our safety on the trip.

Aaron Photo 2
Masada

Being in my late 30s, I was on the older side for the group, but I was pleased that there were plenty of people more experienced than me. We had a great mix of ages and backgrounds. I had just as much fun with the folks in their early 20s as I did with those in my age bracket. I started friendships on the program that I hope to maintain for a lifetime.

Additionally,  I made some great professional contacts. I’m proud to know a detective in Phoenix, a police captain in San José, and many other awesome people! This was especially important to me given that I’m in an ASU Online program. This program fits my needs perfectly, and I know this because I started an in-person program in my home state before I transferred to ASU due to conflicts with my travel schedule, but it still bummed me out that I didn’t have personal relationships with my classmates before this trip.

This program was a great fit for me from the standpoint of my academic program. Completing six credits in a relatively condensed fashion really helped me, because I was able to fit in an extra class during the Summer A session as a result. I love ASU but I’m trying to get through this program as quickly as possible! The subject matter on the program was solid, and the credentials of the professionals we encountered were impressive. This program allowed me to emphasize the subject matter that most interests me in my degree program. Plus, I picked up some nice buzz words for my résumé.

Finally, as I mentioned, I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for this program when I applied. I’m happy to report that I received two scholarships, and the total cost of the program (excluding the actual travel) was only about $1,000 more than what I would have paid for six credits in two regular classes. ASU was great about providing information regarding scholarships and overall the application process was pretty painless. My advice to those thinking about studying abroad at some point: don’t over think it. 

Get out there, have fun and spend time with folks in a way you don’t typically get to in everyday life. Of course, there will be times when you’re hot, tired, hungry, missing your bed, and whatever else, but that’s all a part of the experience. Forks up!

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