Shalom! I’m here studying at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies for a semester. Eighty students get to come every semester and I am one of those lucky few! Hooray! I’m so so so glad and so excited to be here.
The center is located on Mt. Scopus in East Jerusalem in a Palestinian area. It overlooks the city of Jerusalem with the beautiful and sacred Dome of the Rock right in the middle. That is the view from my bedroom patio. Amazing. This building is so beautiful and so nice, and I have to remind myself everyday that I am actually here. Whoa, I’m in Jerusalem right now, this very second.
We take different classes and combine that learning with a lot of on site learning and fun fun field trips. We have an Ancient Near Eastern Studies class, two Modern Near Eastern Studies classes, one from Jewish perspective and one from Palestinian/Islam perspective, then we have an Arabic (or Hebrew class, whatever you choose), and of course some grand Old and New Testament classes. We have a lot of reading for every class, but it’s all really interesting and so it’s cool beans.
Then we have oodles and caboodles of amazing field trips. We go around Jerusalem of course and hit up all the sites, but along with that, we go to Egypt for a week, Galilee, Jordan, Dead Sea, Red Sea, Med Sea, Bethlehem, all over the Holy Land man. It’s going to be amazing! There is so much here in Jerusalem. It’s crazy. Dome of the Rock, Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Garden of Gethsemene, everything….. It’s all here, and I’m here too.