Spotlight On Thrive's Matthew Karofsky
When Matthew Karofsky signed up for a semester abroad in Israel, he knew he wanted something more than just a fun tourist experience that a program in Europe would offer; he wanted his semester to have meaning.
Thrive Study Abroad is a semester abroad program in Israel that gives students like Matthew an opportunity to have an incredible, meaningful, and immersive Israel experience, with friends that turn into family. Learn more about applying for a semester at Thrive here.
We met with Matthew at the Rothberg International School on the Hebrew University, Har Hatzofim campus in Jerusalem. Originally from Wellesley, MA, Matthew started his degree at Tufts University in Massachusetts, where he is part of their pre-med program.
Thrive Study Abroad: What made you choose Thrive over other study abroad programs in Europe?
Matthew: I joined Thrive as a way to add regular Jewish discussions into my daily life, and to take advantage of all the opportunities Thrive was able to offer me throughout my semester in Israel.
Thrive Study Abroad: What was your favorite activity at Thrive, and why?
Matthew: Participating in Army weekend was by far the best experience I had on Thrive. I was able to see a small part of what IDF basic training looks like. It wasn’t only a challenge physically, they also challenged us mentally. It meant a lot to actually work out and spend time with real soldiers who are in the IDF. They were able to bring meaning into every aspect of our training. We finished our sunrise hike singing Hatikvah and for me, that was really eye-opening. The experience reminded me that the IDF is not just an army, but it is the army of the Jewish State, and for these soldiers, it’s about protecting the Jewish nation, which is something no other army can say.
Thrive Study Abroad: What was the biggest lesson you learned over army weekend?
Matthew: Perseverance, to believe in myself, and that the key to being successful is also to trust in others.
When speaking to Matthew there was an obvious theme to many of his answers, one of not letting opportunities pass him by. Thrive gave Matthew the ability to truly experience Israel and Judaism during his semester. He explained how Thrive is “all about immersion, [which allowed him] to meet people who [he] wouldn't have gotten to meet otherwise.
Matthew plans to go back to the United States and finish his last year and a half of pre-med at Tufts University, where he hopes to seek out more Jewish experiences and continue to take advantage of the many opportunities they can offer him.
Curious what a semester in Israel looks like? Learn more about our study abroad program here.