Tradescantia Zebrina .:. The Wandering Jew

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tales and opinions of the wandering Jew

As ulpan comes to an end…

Are you considering the winter ulpan at Hebrew University? Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You’re going to be in a class, in a program, that’s aimed at American undergrads. Many of them are immature, and don’t actually want to be in class. What does that mean for you? They talk, SMS/text, laugh, etc., throughout class and during lectures. Because they are the target audience, the teachers don’t seem to care about their behaviour, and let the disruptions continue. A friend of mine, in another class, has had to leave early several times due to the headaches she’s been getting from their noise in class.
  • The students who are at Rothberg for the semester will be continuing ulpan during the regular semester. They’ve been told that this winter ulpan is just the start for them, an introduction or refresher for the level they’re about to complete. I, and several other external students who just came for the winter ulpan, were told we would be finishing a full level (for me, that means the Bet book), over the four weeks of ulpan. Clearly we were told this so that we’d pay the huge tuition and take the course. However, the explanation given the the American undergrads is far more accurate.
  • The tuition. It’s a lot. $900US, plus $60US registration fee, plus the book. So I’d be buying the book regardless of which ulpan I went to, but let’s look at the $960. That’s $960 for four weeks, which is 19 class days (4 the first week, 5 the remaining three). Or $50.53 per class. Then you factor in the three snow days we’ve now missed (one was made up completely), so that’s a pure loss of $101.06. Our teacher had some prior engagement last week, so she let us out an hour early; we were to make up that hour today, but today’s the third snow day. So that’s now a loss of $113.69 when I add the extra lost hour.
    • MS suggests that any Americans reading this won’t be balking at the price of the course, given the expensive post-secondary education system in the USA. But I still think that, regardless of where you’re from, $900 for an inter-semester, four week course is expensive.
  • Disorganization. Yesterday, before leaving class, a classmate asked our teacher for information on the oral exam we’re supposed to have, a component of our final grades. Our teacher commented that it’s just as was explained on the hand out she gave us last week. Except we weren’t given a hand out last week, or ever. Their disorganization meant we were given a day’s notice for our oral exams. (Of course, due to the snow that’s been canceled.) On our test last week, we were supposed to have been tested on a bunch of grammar that our other teacher had never taught us.
  • The zionist agenda. While I enjoy singing Israeli folk and rocks songs from the 1970s and 1980s as much as the next guy, I’m at ulpan to learn Hebrew. Not to spend a couple hours in an auditorium singing “gesher tsar me’od” and “ani v’atah.” The historic tour of campus, the lectures on Israeli money and the history of the Hebrew alphabet, and those weekly singing sessions were a waste of time. The lecture on Ethiopian Jews was interesting, but, again, shouldn’t have taken away from class time. Especially given how little we learn in class.

I feel like it was a waste of money. But, hey, your milage may vary.

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Filed under: hebrew, israel, school

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