You might have heard me mention going to Ulpan in other segments, so today I am going to explain what it is. Ulpan is the educational center where you go to learn Hebrew. Just like in regular schools, there are levels in which you learn. Since I was a total beginner, I started of in kita aleph (like a Kindergarten class). I didn’t know how to read, write, speak, or even recognize the letters so we started off at the very beginning. My class is Monday-Wednesdays, 8:am-1:pm…5 hours of intensity and brain drainage.
Ulpans are pretty unique to Israel in that they are the only institutions that offer Hebrew lessons. It is the hub of foreigners, especially new immigrants just making citizenship. The government actually pays for new immigrants to take Ulpan classes, in promoting the Hebrew language. In my class alone we are represented by many different countries: Russia, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Japan, Italy, France, The US, Brazil, and I’m sure I’m missing a couple (but you get the point.)
One things I’ve loved about learning at Ulpan, along with the actual Hebrew language, has been the cultural aspects. My teacher is so awesome in making sure we learn about every Jewish holiday that comes along, and Jewish traditions as well. She incorporates the history of the Jewish people (from the Torah) to the history of Israel. We learn about different places within Israel and where to go and what to see. We have learned songs that Jewish children learn growing up, and even had computer lessons to learn the keyboard. Overall, its been such a great tool for me.
I say this because this week is my last week of Ulpan! I debated on whether to go on to the next level or not, but in the end I realized that I have all the tools I need….I just have to go out and start using them (aka: speaking in Hebrew) I will miss going to Ulpan and especially my teacher (the best Ulpan teacher in the world!!!). I have met some great people in my class and it will be weird not seeing them every week. I owe a lot to my experience at Ulpan, and now I can officially say that I can read, write, and speak in Hebrew….and it can only get better!