I started Hebrew College Ulpan because I wanted to become more familiar with how to read the Hebrew alphabet. I had visited Israel quite a few times for work or to visit friends, and while everyone speaks English there, I always feel it’s a visitor’s responsibility to know the basics. I also work in high tech, and there are a lot of start-ups in Tel Aviv, so I thought it might be useful to know the language.

I grew up in Taiwan, so Mandarin Chinese was my first language. English was taught really early on, so I was already fluent by the time I moved to the United States—to New Jersey—as a teenager. In high school and college, I studied romantic languages. I’m also a musician, so memorizing music is an important aspect of what I do. If I’m memorizing Bach, why not memorize Hebrew?

I have always learned best in a classroom setting, so I was excited to find Hebrew College Ulpan in Boston. The program is incredible. The textbook is good, the material is good, the instructor Shlomi Zan is brilliant—it’s just such a wonderful class. Everyone is really supportive and wants to help out one another. We are all adults; we try to do our best to learn and be supportive—even when we moved to Zoom in March. We made the transition smoothly. Shlomi leveraged several remote learning tools and we continued our progress.

I’ve been in Boston for more than a decade and live in the South End. I came here for a job after graduating from NYU with a degree in marketing and getting an MBA with an emphasis in information technology from Tulane in New Orleans. While working in Boston, I completed New England Conservatory’s certificate in professional studies for violin performance. I play in several community orchestras and chamber music groups.

I’m excited to continue learning at Hebrew College, to continue growing with my Ulpan group, motivating one another, achieving our goals and forming good friendships and camaraderie. And I’m excited to return to Israel when I am able to (I was supposed to go over Memorial Day weekend). The country deserves a lot more attention—there’s a thriving culture, thriving technology; it’s an amazing place!

Charles Lin in Tel Aviv (Photo: Lucy Cohen Rothblum)

Find more information about Hebrew College Ulpan here.

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