Grad School in Israel

Its official! I’m in Grad school at the University of Haifa and I have started classes. This is all very exciting, minus all the BS that I have had to go through in the past two weeks. As this blog is not only about my life for friends and family, I will go into a bit of the details on how to be an Oleh Hadash Student.

Arrival
I have been in Haifa now for almost two weeks and I’m just getting settled. I discovered a major problem before I left for Israel and that was that I did not have a room in the dorms reserved like promised. So when I arrived in Israel, I did not have a place to live. BH that I have amazing friends, which hosted me for a few days while I got everything in order with the University. It took a lot of emails and phone calls, in which I got in contact with a staff member at the University that helps Olim Hadashim (new immigrants) He pulled some strings and got me moved to the top of the waiting list for the dorm rooms. It didn’t take very long until I had conformation that I have a room in a three bedroom apartment for master’s students. I have my own bathroom and room! My friend from the army, Roni became a major asset for me moving in and getting setup, he has a car. We went fooDorm Roomd shopping and a nice trip to Ikea.

Check out my room –>

I am still working on getting internet in my room, but other than that, all is good. I have two flatmates, only one I have met…

Government Bureaucracy: Minhal Hastudentim
One of the main reasons I choose to come back to Israel and study is the face the Olim Hadashim get a free degree from a public institution. Click here for who is eligible. And check out this awesome promo video.

Anyways, I had to complete my application for the government grants and have an interview at their office. For anyone that has had to go to a government in Israel you know it is hell. No signs, long lines, many languages, rude people, and endless bureaucracy. I have a bit of experience in the Haifa offices so I thought I knew my way around… Well I spent 30 mins trying to find the Minhal Hastudentim (Student Authority). No one knew what I was talking about and where their office is located in this very large building. Finally I went to the Immigrant Absorption Center to ask them. Well I got to the right place. There was someone there that could help me do everything I need even though it wasn’t the student authority offices. I got there at the perfect time and didn’t have to wait in a line. I had a very nice young lady get all my documents online, link my bank account, and finished my application. I then had to wait in line for one of her supervisors to give me the final approval. I asked how exactly I receive the money and found out that I’m a bit screwed. They don’t give you the money upfront…only reimburse you after each payment to the University. I can now only guess how long it will take for me to get all my money back. Another issue is that my program is one year and 26,000 shekels. They only pay 13,000 shekels a year, so I can get the whole 26,000. I just have to wait to get the second half after I graduate. AHAHAHA, now I need a job not only to live, but to make up front payments to the University. BH that I have some money from the Army (Picadon) that can only be used for my education, so that will help for a bit.

University Bureaucracy: You’re not in the US anymore toto…
I have had a very large headache for the past few weeks due to the University being very organized with a very old computer network. Most of the issues arose because I was in the system twice. First as an international student and second as an Israeli student taking international classes. This has caused so much problems that still haven’t all been worked out. The internal system of the university is very bad at talking between departments and offices. Everytime I fix a problem I have to wait two days before I can move on to solving the next. I still am not able to use the course websites with all the assignments and readings. I’m hoping that my two student profiles will be consolidated in the next few days. Its crazy to me that the Registrar, Financial aid, bursar, and my academic department are so disconnected. Lines at all these offices are very long as well, with no order. Have you ever stood in a line in Israel? BH that I speak Hebrew and have some Hutzpa. I know have a student ID, apartment, wifi access, up-to-date on payment, and registered for classes. Crazy that it took me two weeks to get it all done. I still need a student bus pass and access to the library/course websites (D2L/Moodle).  I also now need to figure out how to get internet in my apartment. I’m in two of nine buildings with no Wifi, just hard lines. But of course I have a MacBook Air, so I can’t directly connect to the ethernet w/o an adaptor. Crazy Israel…

Well thats about it for this update. I’m really enjoying classes and Uni life. Just need to get to see more Israeli friends and I’ll be all set. This week I’m going to a Leadership conference for IsraeLinks alumni. It should be a great time!

Next time: What I’m learning… for now check out the view from my room.

North ViewSunset

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