SASI – my perspective, as a South African student in Israel

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SASI students celebrate the end of the academic year in Tel Aviv in June 2019

I am a second-year university student at the Inter Disciplinary Centre (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel. 

I attended United Herzlia Schools and am completing the second year of my BA in Sustainability and Government Studies. I study at the IDC in English. Studying here has really been an amazing opportunity, the friends I have made here come from near and far and from all spheres of life, from Sudan to the United States and even South America. Our lecturers are experts in their respective fields and it’s a privilege to gain innovative knowledge on topics such as ‘Advanced Water Resource Management and Energy Systems, Climate Change and our society’. 

The degree I study is focused on sustainability — a future-orientated degree — which looks at how we use our natural surroundings (oceans, forests, oxygen, sunlight etc.) in a sustainable manner for our benefit, and that of future generations. I chose to study in Israel, following seven months of a BA in History and Politics at UCT. I soon realised that my passion was in learning about our natural world and how we use and misuse it. 

I aspire to use the skills and education that I have gained in South Africa, and Africa at large, where I believe there is tremendous potential given the continent’s natural resources. I hope to be able to play my part in effecting real positive change. 

This amazing opportunity would not have been possible without the financial and comprehensive support of Telfed. In addition to the IDC scholarship, Telfed’s scholarship helps offset the costs of living in Israel. Telfed and in particular the SASI (South Africans Studying in Israel) group have become a home away from home. Our group of students attend different universities and study different degrees but we come together every couple of months. 

This year with SASI we volunteered at a home for lone soldiers, participated in a Shabbaton in the spiritual city of Tzfat and have been on tours of Tel Aviv’s underground art scene. I encourage all those considering studying in Israel to go for it! These two years have changed me as a person. I have had to grow up and fend for myself and the lessons I have learned are priceless. Telfed and the SASI team have been there for me whenever I have needed assistance or just someone close to home to talk to, and the friends I have made within the group have become like family. 

Telfed makes the transition to Israel a lot easier — I encourage all those thinking of coming to Israel to contact them. I conclude with a quote which resonates deeply with me: “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” — Robert Nesta Marley.

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