Sunday, June 04, 2006

Lost...not in translation!

This is my second attempt to type this entry!

Today was my day at Haifa University. I spent 2 months here in the spring of 2004, so it was nice to get reintroduced to my memories of the sights and sounds. I had forgotten how strong the coffee was at the campus café (it makes an espresso from Starbucks in the states seem very weak, wow!) and how beautiful the views are from the university grounds on the first peak of Mt Carmel, overlooking the city of Haifa and the Mediterranean Sea.

Though my Hebrew has slightly improved since my last visit, I still spent the day not understanding 95% of the conversation that was happening around me. I spent 4 hours of my day in my friend Yael's pol sci Research methods class for 2nd year students. While I could identify the concepts she was discussing, such as the difference between validity & reliability in survey as how to form a Letcher scale question, the nuance of the student's discussion and her explanations were totally lost to me. In the 2nd half of the class they even discussed the research survey I had drafted on religiosity and patterns of technology use, my reason for coming to Israel, I was still lost 80% of the time.

Nonetheless it was a great time for people watching. Israeli students are much different than their American counterparts. Most are in their mid-20s or older, having survived 2-3 years of compulsory military service required as soon as they graduate from high school. So on the outside they appear more mature and reflective.

Now I am sitting at a computer that insists on translating all into Russian. And though my Russian is definitely better than my Hebrew (1/12 years of study during my BA) still I am at a loss. Couple that with a Hebrew key board that insists on typing right to left and I am unsure how this will all type out in the end.

Ach well, that's the fun part about traveling and researching internationally, being willing to give up control and the need to totally comprehend your communicative surroundings!


At 7:28 PM, Anonymous barry-wellman said...

Heidi, Starbucks espresso Is weaker than Israeli and European espresso. Indeed, an ersatz warning label should be posted at all Starbucks, as soon as they wander away from straight coffee -- and even that is too burnt-tasting for my tastes.
You may be the first person to make alliyah to Israel for the coffee!

At 3:57 AM, Anonymous Al Gordon said...

Hey Heidi, great to see that you're finally embracing the Inter-Net. I'm told it has great potential and that web-logging is the way forward! Take care, Al

At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Yael Levanon said...

I can assure you that Heidi is not the first one to leave the US behind in search of better coffee. I had the worst time trying to get over my jet lag with no proper medication (i.e. caffeine) around.
but you, north americans, believe in the the holy trinity: the flag, McDonalds and starbucks's rotten coffee....

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