Leaving Israel was a bittersweet experience. This trip mattered to me in more ways than I can express. Of course, I’m excited to begin my next semester at school but I’m also sad to have left the warm climate, both of the people and of the landscape of Israel. All the amazing, wonderful people that helped me and all the knowledge they gifted me with, will never truly leave me, even if I am an ocean away.

While I was in Israel, I learned so much about myself and my faith, as well as the history and politics of the region. I am so glad to have added this knowledge to my journey of exploration and self-discovery. I know that I will continue thinking and talking about all of these new ideas in my personal and academic life. I feel that each person on this trip was uniquely important to the atmosphere and communal experience we shared.

Living and learning with everyone on the trip was an experience of a lifetime. Every night I went to bed knowing the itinerary for the next day, but I never knew how I would react, emotionally and spiritually, to all I would experience. This was a truly unique opportunity. Another trip with the same itinerary, would still be new and exciting because of the different outlooks each individual brings. From the largest group discussions to the one on one dialogues, because of the unique perspective of everyone on the trip and all the diverse topics we discussed, every conversation I took part in during the trip was important and eye opening and sometimes even overwhelming in the best ways.

We’ve not even scratched the surface of learning and feeling and experiencing, and at the same time I feel like I know so much more about my travel companions, myself, and life. And while we may not all become lifelong friends, I feel that I have gained connections that will make my exploration of life more rewarding. This trip reaffirmed the importance of my conviction to be the best person I can be, every day.

So many of the mysteries that life holds seem attainable and knowable and yet I know that I will never uncover them all in my life. This trip led me to new truths and has furthered my acceptance of not being perfect or infinitely wise or having all the answers.

I wish I had the words to more eloquently and genuinely express how deeply thankful and appreciative I am of everyone who had a role in this trip. Thank you!

– Em