The Wildcat Opinions Board
Students who study abroad in a war-torn part of the world are probably crazy.
But they're about as heroic as college students can get.
Rachel Hughson and Hannah Goodman are Judaic studies juniors who have chosen to spend their entire junior years in Israel. For those who have not been keeping up with CNN, or the Nation/World page of the Wildcat, Israel is probably one of the most unsafe places on Earth right now. Fighting with Palestine has increased sharply, and peace seems to be nowhere in sight.
But Hughson and Goodman won't let a little warfare scare them off.
"There is a constant feeling that something could happen that pervades over all," Hughson told the Wildcat. "My life goes on as usual, however, I have learned to assess situations as I enter them."
Hughson and Goodman are two of the few American students who have remained in Israel. Many students, quite understandably, have chosen to leave the country because the believe it is unsafe.
Hughson's experience in Israel is a unique one that she will forever remember. It is the less traditional, less straightforward part of a college education that often teaches students life's most important lessons.
UA students who have not taken the initiative in making their college experience well-rounded, worthwhile and special ought to follow Hughson's and Goodman's examples. Most students simply plow through college with the daily grind of classes, taking 12 units per semester for four or five years. This is, of course, a valid way to spend one's time in college.
But it sure is mediocre.
People like Hughson and Goodman are impressive because they choose a different path, one that will help them grow as people and will teach them more than a regular semester or year of college.
For Hughson, spending a year in Israel is a committment that she refuses to let up on.
"The weird thing is that everyone who left all had excuses as to why they were leaving, none of them involving the war," Hughson said. "The truth is, people do not want to admit their fear. I find myself doing the same thing, but I don't want to leave something that I love so much behind."
The challenge of Israel is perhaps even greater for Goodman, who is blind. Goodman has the assistance of a seeing-eye dog, but even a reliable animal can not erase the fears of war. Goodman did consider leaving Israel when bombing of Arab-occupied territories escalated, but she decided to stick it out.
"...It calmed down, so now I know I intend on staying for the rest of the year," Goodman said.
Obviously, spending time in Israel is of specific interest to these Judaic-studies students. And studying abroad is not necessarily the best option for all students, particularly for those who work and attend school at the same time or do not have the money to study abroad.
But what all college students can do is pursue unique activities that suit their interests. If students are undecided about what their career goals are, or even if they do not have a major, they can build their knowledge and experience in areas foreign to them, just like Hughson and Goodman. Whether it be philanthropy or starting a small business, playing sports or acting in plays, the choice to expand one's horizons is one that all students should make.
This editorial represents the collaborative stance of the Arizona Daily Wildcat Opinions Board.