TAU Students Explore New Horizons Abroad

Applications open for Spring Semester Exchange 2025.

04 July 2024


Every semester, students at Tel Aviv University (TAU) have the opportunity to enrich their academic and personal lives by participating in exchange programs at one of TAU's partner universities worldwide. We spoke with two TAU students, Rimon Aharony and Golan Shuman, about their exchange experiences at NYU Madrid and Venice International University, respectively.


Golan Shuman’s Journey to Venice International University


Golan Shuman, a double major in history and education, chose to go to Venice International University. “Italy was my second option after Germany, and Venice International University made the process very accessible,” he explained. The program’s focus on international students made it an appealing choice, as well as the university’s location in a historic city. 



At Venice International University, Golan found a unique academic environment that emphasized learning about unfamiliar subjects and cultures. “The program was both about exploration and academics,” he said. He was also able to travel extensively within Italy and engage in various extracurricular activities, such as informal discussions with professors and students.


Golan took several history courses, including one on Italian history through films and another on the Roman Empire's provinces. “These courses were interesting. We even talked a bit about the Roman army in Judea, which obviously connects to us,” he shared. He also took an Italian language course, which he found enjoyable and very practical: “The teachers there are very good – they are open-minded and very helpful.”



“I really connected to Italian people—I went to a local gym and I made some very close friends who were Italian, which was interesting.”


Golan’s exchange experience extended beyond academics. The onset of the war in Israel affected many Israeli students, including Golan. “We organized ‘Hasbara’ [=explanation in Hebrew] events to explain our perspective on the conflict, which helped us better understand our own history and to learn to explain it respectfully to people who don’t know anything about Israel,” he recounted. The university's small, close-knit community was respectful and supportive, creating a positive atmosphere despite the challenges.



Living in Venice had its unique aspects. “The university is on an island, so we took a boat to campus every day,” Golan said. Finding accommodation was facilitated by the university, although sharing rooms was a common practice.


For Golan, the exchange experience was transformative. “It pushed me to do things I never imagined, like a solo pilgrimage hike in Bologna,” he shared. “I'm not very spiritual, but I actually meditated there at the top and it gave me a lot of strength to push forward with everything that was happening and it gave me a lot of clarity.”



His advice to prospective exchange students is practical and encouraging:


“Prepare ahead of time, especially in terms of learning how to talk about Israel's situation. Embrace challenges and unfamiliarity. It’s definitely worth it.”


Rimon Aharony’s Semester at NYU Madrid


Rimon Aharony, a third-year student in the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) program at TAU, spent a fall semester at NYU Madrid. Her motivation for studying abroad was clear: “I wanted to gain the experience of living abroad, studying in a different language, and enriching my academic experience with courses we don't have here at TAU,” she explained.


Rimon Aharony in Madrid


During her exchange semester, Rimon took courses in marketing, management, and business organizations, areas not typically offered in her program at TAU. This allowed her to explore new subjects and broaden her academic horizons.


Living independently in Madrid also helped her develop essential life skills. “Finding an apartment, opening a bank account, and getting to know the local market were all new experiences for me,” she shared.


At NYU Madrid


The experience was not without its challenges. The outbreak of war in Israel added a layer of complexity. “I was called for reserves, and it was difficult to decide whether to stay or return,” Rimon recounted. Despite the turmoil, she chose to stay and complete her semester. The support from the faculty at NYU Madrid was invaluable. “They were very supportive, offering one-on-one tutoring and extra time for exams due to the language barrier,” she noted.


Rimon's time in Madrid also improved her language skills. She was required to take a Spanish course, which, although not counted towards her degree at TAU, helped her pick up the language. “My English also improved significantly since we studied in English, unlike my Hebrew-only program at TAU,” she said.


Reflecting on her experience, Rimon emphasized the personal growth she gained.


“Living far from my family for the first time and creating a routine in a new country was challenging but rewarding.”


Her advice to other students considering studying abroad? “It's worth it. Be open-minded, and focus on the experience, the people, the culture, and the academics.”



Applications for Spring Semester 2025 are now open. You can choose from over 50 exchange study destinations.  


Contact the outgoing exchange office at outexchange@tauex.tau.ac.il for more information. 

You are also invited to join one of the Zoom info sessions. Sign up here.


Listen to two TAU students, Noa Beit On and Sagi Yehudaie share their experiences:



Note that NYU sites, including NYU Madrid, only accept applications for fall, so applications will open at a later date.

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