Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gal, the international student

I was strolling the city streets one day, soaking up the final sun rays when I heard this girl speaking. She had a unique accent that I couldn't place. I asked her where she was from. She told me she was from Israel. I had never interviewed an international student before and asked her would she mind answering some questions about her life here in New York. Below is a synopsis of what took place.

What is your occupation?

I am a student at Hunter College (68/Lex.) in the city...just started!

You said you were an international student?

Yes, Israel.

Were you also a student there?

I am twenty-six! Over there...I was in the Army for two years, Switzerland for three years, here for three years, I just started college over here, my life is already a great was fun, beautiful. I learned some German...


In Switzerland.

Why? They're German there?

They speak Swiss German, it's divided, by three different...areas? There's the French part-French, South, Italian, middle-they speak Swiss-German, but everybody speaks German...and in school they teach it. But if you go to the French part, they make you speak French.

You were in the Military?

Yes, two years. I became a commander, but everybody had to do that.


Everyone had to join the's required, if you live there, you have to.

I didn't know that.

It's an ongoing conflict, I am trying to be optimistic about it...I mean there are some people who put kids on roofs so (that) house does not get bombed.

Upon obtaining your degree from Hunter, what do you hope to achieve?

It's so wide, that's why I want to do PR stuff, journalism, I think I want to do something with publicity, produce my own television show...

What's the red string bracelet signify?

It when you donate to the poor, you get one. It's like good luck, spiritual. The Kabala, Madonna wears one.

Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?

I'm more spirit of believing than acting on it. As long as one believes whether that be believing, what you want...that's what belief is. (Sipping her coffee)

So, it seems like you have a plan after college, but it's not definite?

There are so many people that go to college and there's a huge difference between what actually happens, that's why I'm here and I am going on six internships!

Sampling your identity?

My real world started a long time ago...there's an age thing (difference). A typical college student goes because their parents made them and/or paid for it. Things were not like that for me when I was eighteen,,,I'm not trying to sound dramatic, I mean it's a beautiful place, now they did a survey that said 80% of the people there are happy!

That's seems stressful.

I'd like to go back there in like four what I was saying is there's a huge difference, we grew up faster...

Has that made you less frivolous?


You could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

New York!


Well, first of all, New York; say no more. I mean seriously! I lived in Switzerland, it is so beautiful over there, but if you read the newspaper, it's like nothing happens! It's just too peaceful! I got bored and I moved to New York.

Here, it's a happy medium?

Yes, there is a certain VIBE that I didn't get anywhere else, well except for San Diego.

Ever been to L.A?


How would you compare NY to LA?

Yeah, I just wanted to grab people and shake them up...they're too laid back!

You're saying people are not laid back here?

Here people are just...well, sometimes I like it and sometimes I don't...sometimes everyone is
just walking and I am walking and I feel myself walking faster even if I'm not in a rush and have no real destination, all of a sudden, I'm in a big rush to get there.

You start charging with them, that's happens to me too!

Yeah, and one time I was walking really fast with the usual traffic and I just stopped for a second and some lady on her cell phone who was rushing to get somewhere was like "What the HELL are you doing?" She had space to go right or left, there was plenty of room for her just to go around me!

You seem very upbeat and positive, what is your secret?

70% of life is work, so I'd better have fun! I try to do everything.

Best experience here?

I think you can be wherever you want, you can choose to be whoever you want, you can go, anywhere!

Do you consider this country the Land of Opportunity?

Yes, there's no limits to what you can do, it depends on the definition of success.

Been to the Statue of Liberty?

Yes, like six times...always whenever I have a family member come out, we go there, it's fun but it's hard when you're a student.


There's money, money, money, all the time, you become more aware of money because you see it.

This is a country of possessions, we measure ourselves by it.

Yes and people are willing to do a lot for it...with their Louie Vouten bags, there's no other country like it, it's very materialistic?

Are you materialistic?

(Hesitation in her voice) I'm trying not to be...I wasn't until I came here.

Is New York changing you?

In New York, you have to...this is a city that has a lot to offer. But I'm trying to be who I am and not be materialistic...trying to focus on my beliefs. I think everyone is searching for happiness.

(Nodding) I agree with that.

And they always question what that is.

What do you despise most?

Not having enough money to be happy. I mean not having money can suck the life out of you. I mean I know that money doesn't give you happiness but I am also aware that money gives you comfort. BUT, you could be a greedy bastard and have a beautiful house and wife and lots of money and still be miserable! There are people that are spoiled like that...I always tell my friends: I don't want to be too rich but I do want enough money to live and be happy...and I want to get paid to do what I love!

Me too, I hope that happens for the both of us one day, soon! Thank you, this was very interesting. I learned so much.

You're welcome!

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