When junior Carrie Hildebrandt began to think about rounding out her academic career at UMD, she found the study abroad program in Haifa to be a perfect fit. Majoring in Arabic studies and minoring in French language and literature and international development and conflict management, she was attracted to the program’s opportunities for firsthand experience of what she was learning in class.
Q: What were your expectations prior to your semester abroad?
A: Even if you're an independent thinker, it's hard to resist the media image that you get about a violent and dangerous Israel, especially when there are missiles hitting a few months before you leave. What you don't realize is how different that is from the reality that you experience in Israel.
Q: Were there any similarities/differences between College Park and Haifa that you didn’t expect?
A: There were some pleasant surprises. Haifa's campus, like College Park, is vibrant with lots of events. The deshe (similar to McKeldin Mall) is always packed with people and hosts a free party and arts fair at least once a week.
Q: Will you tell us about your internship?
A: I worked with House of Grace, a prisoner rehabilitation center in downtown Haifa run by Orthodox Christians. In addition to serving released prisoners, the House also assists low-income families as part of a larger goal of aiding the most marginalized members of society. While I was there, I worked on their website and Facebook page, as well as helping with grant proposals.
For the full interview, view the article in the Fall I 2013 issue of Maryland International. (add link here to digital issue)