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Student Experiences

Student Experiences

Social Work trip to Israel

Elizabeth Binstein's trip to Israel with Rutgers University School of Social Work

Lizbinstein1My trip to Israel through the Rutgers University School of Social Work has given me an education on how to best serve individuals of different cultures while rejuvenating my love for the career. This trip included visits to various universities, exposure to different religions and ways of life, tours of agencies for the developmentally disabled and opportunities to speak one-on-one with disadvantaged individuals.

We were able to meet with professors and students and achieve an understanding of the equivalences and disparities of social work programs within Israel and the United States. I really valued the opportunity to meet with and connect to Israeli social work students as it gave us an honest chance to discuss pros and cons of our government systems and network across continents.  We visited several agencies which focused on the developmentally disabled. I found this part of the trip to be particularly inspiring as I work with individuals with special needs and conduct Autism research at Rutgers University. Lastly, we heard from individuals within the country who felt that their needs were not being met. We spoke with three Ethiopian immigrants who told us about their journey to Israel and their feelings about Israel's lack of commitment to their communities. We asked them, as social workers ourselves, how we could better assist them or other clients in similar positions in the United States. We were told that it is never helpful to tell someone else what they need, we must instead ask "what is it that you need?" We cannot assume that we know what is best, we need to ask, listen, and learn. This is a lesson which will remain with me throughout my career.

The diversity within our group added to our discussions and my comprehension of the material. I am grateful to have had the chance to travel and view Israel through the many professional and life experience lenses of my peers. It is a unique opportunity to be able to travel with undergraduate students and graduate students, in different walks of life, with differing passions.


Study Abroad in Prague and Krakow

Rachel Wetter's summer study abroad in Prague and Krakow:
(Jewish Studies major, '14, recipient of The Barry and Deborah Venezia Adler International Study Scholarship)

Rachel Wetter study abroadThis summer I was awarded a generous scholarship to attend a two-month summer study abroad in the cities of Prague and Krakow run by Rutgers Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies. This program allowed me to study the complicated questions of heritage preservation in two cities with long and complex histories. As a Jewish Studies major, I was particularly interested in how these cities interact today with the heritage of their formerly large Jewish populations. I got to see first-hand what has been done with the material remains of the old Jewish neighborhoods in Prague and Krakow, as well as to visit the former concentration camps Terezin and Auschwitz and discuss how sites of painful memory fit into a country’s heritage. Interning with the ten-day Jewish Cultural Festival in Krakow, I got a fascinating snapshot of the Jewish revival in Krakow. I learned more about how the Jewish community today is seeking to preserve the lost community’s immaterial heritage of traditions and artforms, as well as creating its own new traditions. Throughout the program, I had the opportunity to discuss what I observed with both my fellow classmates and professionals in the field. It was an inspiring and invaluable experience!

Graduate Student’s Israel Experience

Danica says thank you
When I first decided to study abroad in Israel I was not sure what to expect. But, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Being a social work graduate student, I suspected that the trip would revolve around social welfare organizations, which it did. Yet, the trip was so much more. We did not just learn about social welfare organizations in Israel, such as Be'er Sheva's Center for Independent Living (CIL), but also about the numerous religions and cultures, including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Bedouin, and Baha’I, that inhabit the same space. We experienced in-depth, guided tours of all the major religious and tourist sites, which were incredibly stimulating intellectually. We also took a day trip to Petra, Jordan, an ancient archaeological wonder, which was incredibly beautiful. A surprise was the snow in Jerusalem, where it hadn’t fallen in a decade! This trip was intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually fulfilling. It broadened my global perspective and expanded my capacity for knowledge. Everything about Israel was astounding: the people, the food, the sites, and the landscape. It was an overwhelmingly positive, life-changing experience.

Danica Presepe, Graduate Student, School of Social Work, ’13
Recipient of The Herbert and Jacqueline Klein Award for Study in Israel

Learn about Rutgers Jewish Studies awards.

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