My Level 6 Course – Week 1

Three years ago on my birthday I made aliyah to begin my life in Israel. After spending a gap year here and then volunteering for national service, I decided it was time for me to make it official and become a citizen. So I did it! I moved to Israel, found an apartment in Givat Shmuel, and started studying in Bar Ilan.

In my very first class in university I sat in the wrong room for 5 minutes only to realize that I wasn’t a second year social work student. Then later that day I anxiously typed away on Google Translate when I couldn’t understand what my criminology teacher was saying to then find out the word עבריין meant criminal. I didn’t know how to say criminal in a criminology class! By the end of the year and I decided that studying in Hebrew just wasn’t for me and I transferred to the same program, but in English. My days of translating tests and sweating profusely before answering a question were behind me.

Fast forward 3 years and I finished my degree and was ready to take on the working world. Thank God an amazing job fell into my lap, and I started to work at Ulpan La-Inyan as Executive Assistant. My job is in English but it did not take much time for me to realize that my Hebrew was on a much lower level than my coworkers. I took Ulpan in University but it wasn’t the grammar that I was lacking, it was the vocabulary to express myself and the confidence to use it.

Lucky for me I am working at a place that specializes in teaching conversational Hebrew to people who just needed that extra confidence level. Ulpan La-Inyan teaches Hebrew in a way which is nothing like any Ulpan I have ever studied in. So I decided to give it a try, and so I started my very first day studying in Ulpan on my very second day of working at the Ulpan.

So I grabbed my notebook and headed down the hall to Ulpan Level 6. I quickly realized that I was the youngest in the class and at first was a bit apprehensive about it. My initial reaction was the my Hebrew would be much better than my classmates, but boy was I wrong. We went around to introduce ourselves and one by one everyone said where they were from, what they were doing, and how they got to Israel. It was amazing. From New York to London to Latvia all of these people made the decision to move to Israel and I was inspired! Many times people praise me and my friends for making aliyah so young but that is nothing compared to my classmates who lived most of their adult life in a different country and then decided to make aliyah. All of them with different careers and experiences and somehow they made the immensely difficult decision to leave everything they know and come to Israel.

Our teacher Avi explained that Ulpan La-Inyan uses a very specific methodology in teaching a new language and that we would hear different sentences and say them in Hebrew continuing  to repeat certain keywords throughout the lesson. I started jotting down words that I had never heard before and was surprised at how helpful repeating them and then going back and saying them again was. Just as I would forget a word Avi would ask us again how to say a certain phrase and my memory was refreshed. After the verbal part of the class I had just about 15 new words, all etched in my memory so I could use them in my day to day conversations. We then moved on to the writing part in our notebooks and for the last part of class we broke up into groups and had discussions about a specific topic that was brought up in class. By the end of class I felt closer to my classmates and excited about my next class with everyone.

So exactly three years after making Aliyah I finally feel like I am on the right track to gain confidence in my Hebrew abilities and I am excited to see where that leads.

Rena made Aliyah from New York after spending a gap year in Israel and doing Sherut Leumi (national service). She studied Social Sciences at Bar Ilan University first in Hebrew and then in English, because of her limited Hebrew skills. Now, working in Ulpan La-Inyan, Rena is also taking Ulpan classes to better her Hebrew and be better equipped to help you in your journey to speaking Hebrew with confidence. Rena now lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with her husband and is very excited to be a part of the amazing Ulpan La-Inyan team!

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