10 Things Every University of Haifa International Student Needs to Know

Authored by:
Martha Shtapura-Ifrah

Martha Shtapura-Ifrah

by Anna Spoerre

  • You know those views that stop you in your tracks? Well here at the university your walk to class every day will be just that. The scene overlooking part of Haifa’s downtown and stretching up the Mediterranean coast to the Lebanon border is breathtaking to say the least. And of course it makes for some pretty great snapchats.
  • Forget squirrels – cats are your new furry campus friend. These always cute, but not always friendly felines are guaranteed to greet you around every corner.   ​
  • Even though your semester in Haifa will likely be the best semester of your life, sometimes Mondays still feel like Mondays. Say no more: the university has a nice range of coffee stations and shops. My regular go-to is a five shekel cappuccino from one of the many stands on campus. When I want to treat myself, I splurge on a mocha or iced coffee from Aroma, a cute café on campus that doubles as a great study spot.
  • Looking for a way to burn some energy without paying for the semester gym pass? A variety of activities are offered on weekdays for only 15 shekels a class. Grab some new friends and get ready to get your yoga, Zumba, or even hip hop on.
  • Wednesdays are anything but a drag on campus. Around lunchtime the campus quad is always hopping thanks to university-sponsored parties featuring free concerts and beer, vendors and cultural events.   ​
  • Need a late night study break but too tired to take a bus down the mountain? The Moadon has you covered. Every week the student building across from the dorms offers a range of activities including karaoke and dance parties. And they even opened a student bar just steps from your dorm.
  • Let’s be real, hummus is half the reason you decided to study abroad in Israel. And what goes great with hummus? You know it: falafel. Thankfully the university has a cheap, excellent falafel shop hidden away on the 3rd floor of the stairs building. ​
  • You can’t talk about the university view without also mentioning Mount Carmel National Park located just a quick walk from campus. There are swinging bridges, a nature preserve and even a trail to the ocean. I personally take advantage of the two mile walking path which makes for inspiring sunrise runs if you don’t mind taking on some hills. ​
  • Though Haifa is one of the only cities in Israel where public transportation doesn’t completely shut down between sunrise Friday and sunrise Saturday – aka Shabbat -  getting around can still be a little tricky if you don’t plan ahead. This means stocking up on groceries before Shabbat is a must. Thankfully there’s a mini market across from the dorms in case you’re in a bind. Even though the prices are a little higher, you’ll have access to Bambas and Magnum Bars most hours of the day.
  • Martha’s office really is the best spot on campus, and I’m not just saying that because I get bus money to write this blog. There’s a shared bookshelf with books centered around different aspects of Israeli and Middle Eastern life and culture. In other words, don’t be like me and pack three books. Instead save the luggage room and check out Martha’s collection. Did I mention there’s also tea, making Martha’s office the ideal place to study, or just hang out. And of course the best part of the university is Martha herself. She’ll have Haifa feeling like home in no time!​

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