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Ynet News: Why I Chose to Live and Study at a Boarding School

Teens who chose, by their own volition, to attend boarding schools and youth villages across Israel, including one at CHW Hadassim, talk with Ynet about how it came about, life sharing a room with other teens away from home and much more.

September 04, 2019


"People Don't Understand Why I am in a Boarding School"

ynet (Yedioth Ahronoth) - 3.9.19

By Nirit Zuk, Translated by Yonatan Sredni

"When I tell people I'm attending boarding school, the immediate response from most of them is, 'Oh, what happened?' says Tal Sorkis, a sophomore at The Steinberg boarding school In Kfar Saba. "People associate it with abandoned or neglected children, for something bad, but for me, this place is for good, high-quality youth, a place that enriches you socially and prepares you for the military, and it's primarily another life experience."

Indeed, boarding schools often have different stigmas attached to them, but nowadays the situation seems to have changed quite a bit.

Sorkis says the distance from home has done him good. "Adolescence is a period of your life in which you have a lot of conflicts with your parents, and when you're in boarding school you don't have that option," he says. "Living in the boarding school strengthened my relationship with my parets and I began to appreciate what I have at home."

Ruth Blatzo, a 12th grade student at CHW Hadasssim, was one of those students who came to the youth village on her own volition two years ago after she and her family moved to a new city: "Our family moved to Or Yehuda, but I didn't find an educational framework that was right for me," she said. "I studied for one year in a local school in town, but I didn't like being there. There were kids there that didn't get along with the educational system and I knew from the outset that this was not the right place for me. I moved to another school that was far from home, but that did not work out due to the distance and travel time every day, but then I met friends who lived and studied at the Hadassim youth village and were very happy there. They told me that there they focus on their studies and it's really a great place for them.

רות בלאצו (צילום: אלבום פרטי)

Ruth Blatzo (Photo credit: personal album - via ynet)

And what was the response of your family and friends?

"My father said he would do whatever was best for me, but my mother did not like the idea that I'd be so far from home. She feared that they would not see me very often and that it would be tough for me to get along there. Up until that point I had never been away from home for more than three days. I had many conversations with my mother and explained to her that it was hard for me to manage at the local schools. She replied that she had heard some negative things about boarding schools and she had lots of doubts about sending me away for school. But in the end it was clear to everyone that it was my choice to make. Now my mother sees the change in me and understands that coming to learn at Hadassim was good for me as far as surroundings go.

By the way, at the start there were all kinds of  not very positiove responses. I had one friend who told me not to go to a boarding school because she did not have a good experience at the one she went to. After I started at Hadassim I expalined to her that it was a good place for me and she had simply been at a different school that was not right for her. Now everyone accepts my decision to live and study here."

How did your first days living at the youth village go?

"At first it was really weird. In my group only I and one other girl were new. Everyone else already knew eachother. At first, I had a hard time sleeping at night, and I had a hard time getting used to a new place. I was in a room with two girls who were there regularly, and another spot was taken by a new girl that kept switching. It's hard to get used to someone new all the time, including all their habits.

Aside from that, I had a feeling at first that everyone else was "in the know". They had their own conversations and I didn't understand what they were talking about. I felt it was hard for me to be involved in those conversations. Also, the distance from home was hard for me at first and there were times when I went home to my family and friends and I didn't want to return to the dormitory.  I felt I was missing out on things happening in my family and with my friends.

Thankfully I had a dorm counselor I had a good relationship with, and she helped me a lot. And the girls were very nice tpo. About a month and a half after I first arrived at Hadassim I really started to really feel part of the youth village.  That's when I started taking an active part in activities, and made friends. Now I spend time with my friends here, I excel in school, and soon I'm going to be a part of delegation representing the The Israel Youth Awards."

 To read the full article (in Hebrew) click here.