Yesterday I arrived in one of the world’s oldest and most revered cities: Jerusalem. From January to April of 2016, I will have the unparalleled experience of studying at the BYU Jerusalem Center, located on the Mount of Olives and overlooking The Old City of Jerusalem. — I can literally see The Dome of the Rock from my bedroom. (Just check out the photo above, taken from my balcony!) It’s unbelievable.
While here, I will participate in a rigorous academic course load, but also see some of the most important religious sites for Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. I will take classes from local Israelis and Palestinians, learning first hand about the political turmoil of the area as well as the expansive cultural and religious history that makes this city so wonderfully unique. I will also take courses focused on the Old Testament and New Testament, all the while traveling to visit the sites we learn about. And I will also fulfill one of my childhood dreams – to visit Egypt and see the Pyramids of Giza!
After arriving last night we had a brief orientation meeting before packing our things and (attempting) going to sleep. Today we have had more orientation and security training, but this morning we got to take about three hours and walk around Jerusalem to try to orient ourselves in the city, briefly walking past the cites that we will spend so much more time visiting and studying later. In just those short three hours I became so excited for the next 15 weeks that I can hardly stand it, and I’m already dreading having to leave this place. I feel so remarkably blessed to be here with a few old friends and about 80 new ones!
I invite you to come on this journey with me (even in just a small way) as I will try to find time to update this blog at least once a week with photos and information from my adventures. Be sure to follow The TJ Blog using the sidebar to be notified of updates!