intro to the byu jerusalem center

25 december 2016

Jerusalem – one of the most interesting cities in the world. Jews, Christians, and Muslims around the world consider it among the most sacred of cities. It's going to be my privilege to live and study in Jerusalem for the next four months. This blog will serve two functions: it'll be a way for me to record my experiences and a means to update those who are interested!

some history about the center

In 1984, BYU purchased a large plot of land on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem. After finishing construction on a beautiful center in 1987, BYU has offered its students an opportunity to spend a semester (four months) experiencing the culture and diversity of Jerusalem, Israel, and other parts of the Middle East.

Only 80 students are admitted to the center each semester. I only know one person going with me (shout out to you @nataliekimbs), but I'm confident that I'll have awesome roommates and I'll make friends with other BYU students at the center.

my class schedule

Each student in the program is enrolled in the following six classes:

ARAB 100R – Intro to Arabic: students can either take intro to Arabic or intro to Hebrew. This is probably the class that I'm most excited for. I LOVE learning languages because I absolutely love speaking with people in their native tongues. I joke that I'm addicted to the feeling that I get every time someone looks at me with wide eyes and asks, "wait you can totally speak _____!" in that language. After living in a Muslim country for two years (Malaysia), I've developed a keen interest in learning Arabic.

NES 336R – Ancient Near Eastern Studies: this class is a "study of the history, geography, and archaeology of the Ancient Near East, designed to provide a historical background of the people, places, customs, cultures, and events of the Bible". I expect this class to provide additional context to all the places that I'll be visiting while living in Israel.

NES 395R – Jerusalem Center Field Trips: each week, we'll be heading on a field trip to different areas of Israel and the surrounding areas. Some destinations include Bethlehem, Egypt, Jordan, and Galilee, among others that are closer to Jerusalem.

NES 347R – Arab & Islamic Civilization & NES 349R – Jewish Civilization: these two classes are Islamic history in the Middle East and Israeli history in the Middle East, respectively. I'm particularly excited about these classes, as they'll be taught by natives whose lives have actually been influenced by what they're teaching. It's going to be enlightening to hear the two very different perspectives about the history of the region. I'm hoping to gain a much better understanding of the state of the Middle East, especially to hear the palestinian / Islamic side of things.

REL A 303R – Old Testament Studies: the old testament can be intimidating; I'm hoping that by studying the ancient book here in the Holy Land, where these events took place, I'll gain important insight and context that will facilitate my old testament studies for the rest of my life!

REL A 311R – New Testament Studies: perhaps my greatest motivation in attending the BYU Jerusalem Center is to draw closer to Jesus Christ. I want to deepen my desire to follow him and strengthen the personal connection I have with him. Studying the life of Jesus Christ in the very places where he walked and talked will be a life-changing experience. I hope to feel a level of closeness to him that exceeds anything I've felt before.

I'm absolutely fascinated by the people and cultures of the world, so the upcoming months at the Jerusalem Center has me really, really excited.


5 Jan 17

anonymous:  love it

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