Making New Friends

A post from Dan Habot, a participant of Big Idea Gap Year Program in Israel.

#Sept 2017

Socializing has never been a strong suit for me. I usually find it awkward to approach people. But so far that problem seems to be getting fixed in the best way possible. Instead of me having to break out of my own shell like I thought I would have to, people have actually been approaching me. I am so lucky I got placed with my bunkmate Ariel, who I think is one of the nicest people I have met in a long while. He can be energetic, or relaxed, as surroundings require of him. We spend a lot of time with each other, sleeping, eating, studying, hanging out etc. Although this constant time with another person can put strains on friendships, we maintain a cordial relationship when it comes to living with each other because we respect one another.

We both keep the room clean-ish and quiet. My other two housemates Zevi and Santiago are completely different stories. Zevi is a free spirit, he’s always blasting music through his poor phone’s speaker, usually encouraging some of us to join in (or scream “WHAT?!” over the loud music). He is one of the natural Hebrew-speakers in the program which allows him to escape some of the Hebrew classes and he is a pretty good programmer. And I can’t forget to include my the only girl on the program, Noam. She chooses to spend a lot of her time at our place, which has allowed us to bond slightly. She is an amazing singer and a fantastic conversationalist. I feel like I have become closest to this bunch mentioned. As for the others:

  • Evan is in all likelihood my best friend. We like the same-ish music, and we play video games (me, not much recently). During Rosh-Hashanah I invited him to join me and my family for dinner which was so much fun. My cousins (the English speaking ones) absolutely fell in love with him, and so did my family.
  • Asher and I were placed together in most of the activities of the program. We tested into the same Ulpan level (4) but for different reasons. He is perfectly literate, but struggles to speak (makes it hard to handle Israelis like a natural); where I can speak fluently, but struggle with literacy (It takes me ~3 mins to read road signs).
  • Sam is what I feel is the perfect hybrid between an introvert and an extrovert. When in a group he becomes one of the dominant personalities who lead in conversation, and when singled out or alone he is still perfectly happy being quiet. I appreciate him for that, I feel like I need more people like him in my life.
  • Rob is our token surfer dude. He is free-flowing, active, and overall happy!
  • Jake’s sweet. I like to consider him the overall group clown, which at our age has become more than just childish jokes, but actually requires effort and humour. He makes the entire group smile.
  • When I met Andrew I thought he was gonna be the ‘childish’ one. I feel like that was wrong. I noticed that as soon as classes started Andrew matured incredibly fast and has really been applying himself. He engages with the teachers and the rest of us.

Overall there’s nothing bad to say about these people friends. I love all of them, I feel like I can rely on every single one just as I would welcome their reliance. I can’t imagine the first year of this gap year going any different.

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