By Kayley Romick, Student Advocate, Israel Uncovered 2014-2015, Vanderbilt University Israel Uncovered: Campus Leaders Mission was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever been on. It’s been almost a year since Bus 1 met in New Jersey, and now a whole new batch of students are gearing up to make a similar journey together in about a month from now. Whether you are a Jewish student activist or a campus leader, here are a couple reasons why you should be jumping up and down, planning brunch in Tel Aviv, and already packing for Israel Uncovered.
- See Israel in a New Light
It was super special to be a (secondary) tour guide for non-Jewish students on our trip. I got to see Israel through my new friends’ eyes and watch them make connections to the land I’ve loved since I was young.
- Visit Holy Sites
While exploring holy sites such as Mount of the Beatitudes or the Western Wall, participants of all religions get to share their expertise and passion with the whole group. Walk the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre together. My bus even went to the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, one of the holiest sites in Islam and Judaism.
- “Get Squishy”
Break the ice on Israel Uncovered: Get comfortable talking to a bunch of strangers-made-friends about your opinions, or perform your favorite Taylor Swift number to wake everyone up before a presentation. Even if you hate chocolate, you will be able to admit that in a safe space.
- THE FOOD
Shawarma, falafel, schnitzel! Breakfast cheeses, persimmons, chocolate milk in a bag! Pita, couscous, hummus, shakshukah!
- Bond with David Project Staff
The David Project staff is a super fun and caring group of individuals who are there to support your learning and friendships on this trip. They will also become your best friend.
- LinkedIn Game “on Fleek”
The caliber of student on this trip is amazing. For example, one of the students from my bus was just named a Rhodes Scholar. Our campus leaders represent diverse heritages, identities and life experiences. Expect conversations that broaden your outlook on life and last into the night.
- Your New Profile Picture
Will it have a backdrop of the Galilee’s hills? You and your friends covered in Dead Sea mud? The Western Wall at sunset? Really good looking shawarma?
- Challenge Israel to Be the Best It Can Be
Hear from Palestinians, Arabs-Israelis and Jews about their experiences and visions for the future. This trip offers a balanced view of controversial issues in Israel, with many opportunities to debrief and ask tough questions. The realizations I had on this trip help me better advocate for Israel and peace.
Best wishes to all of the buses for a great, safe and memorable Israel Uncovered experience!
Kayley Romick is a junior in Education at Vanderbilt University. She has been an intern for The David Project for three semesters and is currently a student manager for the intern cohort at Vanderbilt. Romick has been instrumental in building relationships with the Muslim community, LGBT community, Catholic community and many others. She represented Vanderbilt on Israel Uncovered 2015-2016.