Tel-Aviv-Israel Study and Intern Abroad Spotlight: Elias Gibson
December 7, 2020
Where and when did you study/intern abroad?
I studied abroad and interned in Tel-Aviv, Israel over the spring + summer
Why did you want to study abroad?
I always knew that studying abroad would be an option here at Virginia Tech, and I had also seen a few of my friends do it as well. I thought that it would not only be a great deal of fun, but it would also be a great cultural experience to live outside of the US for an extended period. When I was able to confirm that the credits earned at the host university would count towards my minor (I’m also required to study abroad/ intern abroad for the internal business minor) there was no reason not to go!
What is something that challenged you while studying abroad?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was the language barrier. Before the academic semester even started, study abroad students were required to take a language intensive 4-week class Sunday-Thursday. While this class was very useful and I learned a lot, it was definitely the most challenging class I took while I was abroad.
What advice would you give to students about studying abroad?
My advice would be, if you are interested in a program and you find out that it will count toward your major/minor… go! Studying abroad is typically a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so go and meet new people from all around the world that chose to study at the same place as you for the semester.
Along with just going in the first place, take advantage of all the opportunities you get, go explore new places and try new things. When I was abroad, I got sent home early, and regrated all the small trips that were offered to me that I didn’t take because I assumed, I’d be there longer.
What did you learn during studying abroad?
Other than what I learned in my classes, I learned a lot about the Israeli culture and the people while I was in Tel-Aviv. I was able to travel up north and down south to meet some of my Israeli friends, and then I got to meet their friends as well. I also learned to not take things for granted. I met some great people while I was there, and it was a bummer when everyone was forced to say goodbye.
What is the funniest or most memorable thing that happened during study abroad?
One of the most memorable nights I had in Tel-Aviv was the night of the Jewish holiday Purim. This holiday is like Halloween as in everyone dresses up and parties all day and night. When the sun set, my friends and I went to the local market (called a shuk) and it was completely packed, shoulder to shoulder. It was the last time I’ve ever been around so many people at one time since the pandemic started. I had a bunch of other great nights in the city with my friends, but this night in particular was my favorite.
- Year: Senior (2021)
- Major: Finance + IB minor