Tuesday, April 30, 2013

For Future Jerusalem Center Students

I had some things that I wish I had known before I came to Jerusalem. I don't know if this is going to be read by a lot of people, but for the sake of remembering....

1. School was really hard... I thought that going to Jerusalem would be a breeze and that it would bring my GPA up. Surprise! Not only am I a Biology major, I freaking hate writing papers, and doing long reading assignments. What a slap in the face by reality. Of course, if you are not really worried about your grades, or you have a knack for writing papers, or you already know everything, or like some, you just don't give bip bi dee, then good for you :)

2. Bring flip flops. I guess most people will not make this mistake, but I forgot to pack them and there were so many times (like at the beach, or in sketchy showers in Jordan) that I would really have loved to have them.

3. You don't have to bring crappy tennis shoes for the Hezekiah tunnel - unless you are not into sharing, but if this is the case, shame on you. There are tons of water shoes that you can borrow from the Jerusalem center. And this is also the case with beach towels.

4. Don't bring multi-vitamins. Let's be honest, you are not going to use them anyway.

5. For girls - don't bring scarves, you can get so many here, its ridiculous

6. For boys - don't bring so many dang ties, you can pick up some really nice ones in Turkey at the silk market.

7. Don't buy souvenirs in the beginning of the semester, you will end up getting ripped off. For wood carvings, go to Omar's or Jimmy's. They will give you good prices. For me, I thought that the quality of work was a little better at Omar's, but the prices were more reasonable at Jimmy's. Some of the cool things that kids got: scarves, earrings, necklaces/bracelets/couplings (with roman glass or widow's mites), shofar, olive wood carvings (nativities, oil containers, Jesus' bust, etc) rings with Arabic or Hebrew written on it (shop across from Shaban's), baby blankets from Bethlehem, ties from Turkey, tiles from Turkey, Keffiyeh, and Kipas. I am sure that I am missing some, but budget wisely!

8. Prices - Don't pay more than 20 sheks for a scarf, or 5 sheks for a pair of earrings. Shaban has some great things for really good prices, and on the way from his store to Damascus gate, there is a jewelery store by Lina's that has really cheap things if you're into that kind of things.

9. Food- there is a sharmaritto place by Jimmy's that is to die for. There is a good shawarma place right when you enter in through Damascus gate at the fork. The best place to get a variety of chocolate is El Dorado on the same street as Aladdin's money exchange, but if you want bulk candy, just get it from Arab costco in the Kidron valley on your way to the old city. Lina's has the best hummus and pita. Also, don't forget to try the stretchy ice cream in Turkey. Magnum bars are good, but they sell them in the states, so try the knockout bars :)

10. Even if you bring a laptop for class, make sure that you bring a little journal so that you can write things down at devotionals and such.

11. Most importantly, don't forget to have fun, and enjoy your experience. It will be over before you know it.

Things change from semester to semester, but I think that most of the things that I wrote will be still applicable to you. Have a great time!

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