When the fall rolled around, I intended to be in Boston and moving in with my friends. I was supposed to be walking down Commonwealth Avenue in the summer heat, ordering delicious food from my favorite local restaurants. I would have loved to be back on campus (with a mask, of course). At the same time, I love being in Israel and did not want to miss this opportunity to be here for a sustained period of time!
On one hand, a seven-hour time difference is simply difficult. This uneven timezone complicates daily life, whether it’s catching up with friends, attending office hours or having lectures. While my peers in America are still asleep or making their first cup of coffee, I have a whole day before my first Zoom class, so my mornings are taken up by enjoying my time in the desert town of Ayalim, where my sister lives.
Despite the challenges, I find this experience to be special; I can learn and have the exact experience as someone in a West Campus dorm while in the middle of the desert 5,000 miles away. My lectures are the same as everyone else: the technical difficulties, funny situations when your friend accidentally walks into a Zoom and even the occasional awkwardness in a breakout room when no one wants to speak. These ordeals help global remote students bond and form connections. As far away as I am physically, I still feel incredibly connected to my peers at Boston University.
Niva Haber is a junior at Boston University studying neuroscience, with minors in innovation and entrepreneurship and medical anthropology. She is involved with several pro-Israel organizations on campus, including BU Hillel and TAMID Group. She is a Boston Onward Israel alum.