Being an international student in the Faculty of Life Sciences
What is it like to be a graduate student in the Faculty of Life Sciences? Niels Dammes shares his personal experience.
I obtained both my BSc and MSc degree back home in the Netherlands and I decided to move abroad for my PhD degree. It took me some time to decide which location to choose because a PhD program is a big commitment that takes several years to complete.
I decided that I wanted to look outside of Europe because I was already familiar with most European countries and I wanted to explore something new. Israel came actually on the list by a coincidence and it turned out to be a great choice: a very different culture but only a 4-hour flight away. Also, Israel provides a great combination of food, weather, landscape, culture and academic excellence.
In June 2014, I arrived in Israel and a month later I officially started my PhD within the department of cell research and immunology (now called the school of molecular cell biology & biotechnology). Haya and Nava from the departmental secretariat were very helpful in assisting me with all the paperwork. In the beginning, I had some problems choosing courses as many were taught in Hebrew but I could easily solve this with help from my colleagues.
Nowadays, most graduate courses are given in English as the University wants to become more international. Directly next to the University are some brand new buildings full of dormitories for students. I, however, chose to rent a place in the city so I can more easily enjoy the city life in Tel Aviv.
Step by step, Tel Aviv is becoming a bicycle-friendly city, making it relatively easy to get from the city to the University. Of course, the Mediterranean heat is fierce but there are several showers available around the campus providing a head start into the day after the ride.
Finding an apartment in the city center can be challenging, as in any big city, but persistence prevails. Altogether, I had a great experience here as a Ph. student. I really enjoyed exploring the diverse country and the different cultures while at the same time being successful in my PhD in an excellent academic environment