Israel, Masters Degree, Papers, Classes & Things…

Israel

29 Days until I leave for Israel, 18 Days until Toronto for AN/YN; 6 Days until I leave for NYC, 4 Days until Thursday which is when I get to hand in my paper (which, I’ve decided, will be completed and bound before I go to bed tomorrow) and my world is spinning.

So far I’ve sent out four invoices totaling $169.00; how much of that money I’ll see before I head out to Israel this summer remains uncertain, but at least it’s progress. Shirah (stoicdaydreamer) was able to find me the free hostel in Jerusalem, I sent them an email a few day sago which they haven’t returned so I’ll call them next week if I still don’t hear from them.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be able to walk into Jerusalem…for so, so many reasons. I’m currently making my walking soundtrack (which means I also need to download some of the music from the movie Kingdom of Heaven with Orlando Bloom – he had, awesome pecs in the movie, as an aside and the soundtrack was great too).

I found a website called Gay Middle East and they have an Israel Page which doesn’t have too much information on it; however they granted me access to their Yahoo Groups Mailing List which is incredibly active (and incredibly multi-national) so hopefully that will provide for some networking opportunities as well. Also from a friend of mine in Cairo I’ve been told that Gay Underground parties are popping up at the U.S. Hotel Chains there just under different names, so they’re not being advertised as Gay but that’s who their clientele is (and at least it’s progress).

This whole waiting game is rather frustrating though. Not that I want to ‘wish my life away’ as it were, but a speeding up the last leg of the process so I can get my B.A., get my application into the Aliyah Organization and get out of here would be lovely…I love UB and I love the friends I’ve made here; but I’ve been here way, way too long.

Masters Degree

So while speaking with Itai (nir1) earlier today I found out that if I’m accepted at TAU (and this is the point where I remind you, that sometime in the future when I apply, I’d appreciate it if you’d all cross your fingers for me) after I apply; it is roughly 1,400.00US per year.

Now, a Masters Program in Linguistics normally takes two years (from what I’ve heard from my friends in the Masters Degree Program in Linguistics at UB, there is no reason for it to take longer); even if the cost were to be raised to $2,000.00 a year or even if it took me three years at $1,400.00; that is still a savings of around $32,000-40,000.00 in comparison to what I would be looking at in the U.S (even at a State School).

I cannot begin to tell you how much this lowers my stress levels and how relieved I am (a large part of my worry was how I was going to pay for grad school in Israel); but I can certainly raise the $4,000.00~ that it will require to get my Masters Degree. $4,000.00 for an M.A. is cheap as dirt, if not cheaper.

Itai was also the one who showed me the website for the Givat Haviva program; which I’ve been researching intensively since he’s shown it to me (I’ve been looking for an Intensive Arabic Program for a year and a half now, ever since my first semester of Arabic at UB). While I am not fully convinced (yet) of all that I’ve heard about their successes (I’m a New Yorker, we’re skeptical about most things by nature and we’re most skeptical when someone says that they can provide a service that works) I believe that I’ll know better how I feel about them after I meet them and look around their place of instruction sometime this summer. However, if they can provide me with the level and intensity of education that their website claims they can, even without being able to bring their me to fluency, it is still well worth the $5,000.00 for that many hours of instruction.

The other two programs which I found in the U.S. that are ‘intensive’ were both poorly rated by people whom I met who attended them, specifically the Defense Language Institute which got poor marks from Prof. Roustum. Prof. Roustum invited one of their graduates who was in town, into our class to give us a presentation. After he left Prof. Roustum explained to us (given that we’re guppies in comparison to pretty much anyone else who’s studied the language and have no way to judge) just how poorly he did…and he was, so we were told, one of their shining stars. So I’m holding out a lot of hope that the program in Tel Aviv is as good as they say it is; if it isn’t, I’ll have to keep looking (Cowboy Bebop fans are the only one who’ll get this: I’ve been playing Mushroom Hunting/Mushroom Samba while I’ve been paging through programs).

But, I am relived. I can afford an investment of around 9,000.00 to 10,000.00 for a Masters Degree in Linguistics and a Fluency in Arabic (considering that I’m paying for everything after UB on my own). And that kind of education is an incredible investment with great potential for capital return. I was talking about it with Scott Paauw the other day, and in the U.S. (currently) people with those credentials can essentially write their own tickets. I’ve found that most people from the Middle East (who I’ve met both in person and online) have no idea what the market currently is for Translators of Arabic; but I can tell you (from both information that I’ve received from the ATA, job fairs and other venues as of this year) that there’s a high demand and very, very low supply in the U.S. (and with opportunities to work over the internet, so you don’t even have to leave your home it means that you can bask in the glory of a beach while telecommuting from Tel Aviv to New York).

My future is certainly looking up and considering I’ll be making the move when I’m 23, if I can have my Masters and a fluency in either Hebrew or Arabic (or, hopefully both as the plan is) by the time I’m 27; I’ll be a happy, happy camper…if it takes me longer for fluency that’s fine (I’ll be an excited camper), but even so…my train is right on schedule.

Papers, Classes & Things

I’ll be so happy when this paper is turned in. Not only because it will be done; but because it’s cool…it’s really, really cool (and it means I get to meet with Wolf whom I haven’t really gotten to see in a couple of weeks). What makes this more exciting, is that I was able to work in Alphasignal, Parasignal, Infrasignal: Notes Toward a Theory of Communication by Dunn & Crawford which is something that I think he’ll find incredibly interesting as a further reading from my bibliography and works cited page. It’s a great paper that has a lot of implications for a few fields (among them: photography, translatology, critical discourse analysis and if you give it to a pack of Semanticians a copy of the paper, you can watch them fight over it like dogs over a steak).

Game Plan

I’m going to sleep until 12:30PM EST; then make my way to campus; I’ll get coffee, then I’ll sit in the same spot in front of a computer until the paper is done. Then I’ll come home, and do laundry.

Okay, ready…break!