Nicolas Mauch is the first MCiT student who decided to spend a semester abroad at our renowned partner university IDC Herzliya. About 10 km away from Tel Aviv an unforgettable adventure full of contrasts was waiting for him.
Why did you decide on Israel as a destination?
My mother asked the same question and moaned "Why Israel? Why not something 'normal' where I don't have to worry about you!" There are still great fears and prejudices about Israel and the Middle East in general. Without a doubt the region is still marked by political unrest. Not least because of this, culture in Israel is constantly developing. This can be seen in many places. Israel is a hectic and wild, but ingenious mix of different cultures that manage to turn chaos into a functioning unit. I fell in love with this country during my semester abroad and envy everyone who has such an experience ahead of them!
What inspired you most during your exchange semester?
Tel Aviv is a colorful mixture of delicious food, high skyscrapers, shabby cars, wide beaches and shrill people. This is where the presence meets the past, Orthodox meets Gay Pride and Jews meet Arabs. It feels different from Innsbruck. But only when you leave Tel Aviv, you really get the feeling that you have left Europe. You suddenly realize that you are in the Middle East. Especially in Jerusalem, you become aware of the country's deep divisions, due to the omnipresent military, the border walls, checkpoints and a constant tension in the air. On my further travels to the West Bank, the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip I was able to talk to people from all sides. I heard many sad experiences, but for me each of these stories was incredibly valuable.
What is the difference between studying at MCI and IDC Herzliya?
Of course, in addition to the numerous cultural experiences, a semester abroad primarily involves academic development. I went to the IDC Herzliya, the most renowned college in Israel, which is also known for its excellent political contacts and extensive network. The campus is great and you get in touch with the locals quickly through various events. Similar to the MCI, you have personal contact with your lecturers, which I had learned to appreciate very much in the past at the MCI.
Israel, see you soon!