Israel consul lectures on studying abroad

Gil Lainer, consul for public affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in New York, was on campus for a lecture Thursday.

Lainer gave a presentation that included a slide show about opportunities for studying abroad in Israel. He also listed reasons why an individual would want to visit Israel in general and gave the crowd a handful of academic programs offered by schools in Israel.

It was Lainer’s decision to attend Buffalo State and give a presentation to faculty, staff and students. He said that Buffalo is a hub of excellence and creativity and is one of the reasons why he chose to come here.

Lainer also plans on visiting the University at Buffalo to share the same presentation.

Lainer is an advocate for traveling overseas. He came to Buffalo State with a goal to market Israel as a potential destination to study abroad.

“Over 300,000 Americans travel overseas on a yearly basis to study abroad,” Lanier said. “Unfortunately, not many travel to Israel. We want to change that.”

Lainer believes that all students, provided they have the opportunity, should study abroad in general, not just in Israel.

“It’s a great experience that will enrich their life,” he said. “It will enrich their academic experience, and it will enrich their future.”

Lainer talked about what makes Israel unique and what “puts it in a unique position when it comes to higher education.”

Aside from informing the crowd with opportunities to study in Israel, Lainer shared a few “fun facts” about the country and about the universities.

According to Lainer, actress Natalie Portman is an alumna of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel’s second oldest university. He also said that Albert Einstein was one of the founders of Hebrew University.

“Israel, a country that is roughly the size of New Jersey, has eight excellent public universities and 20 very good private colleges,” Lainer said.

He described Israel as a very culturally and religiously diverse country. He briefed the crowd with geography and history of Israel.

“If you’re about history, if you’re about learning about your past, this is definitely the place to be,” he said.

Shawn O’Rourke, fine arts major, believes what Lainer talked about was important to understand. O’Rourke said he now believes Israel has great opportunities for American students to learn.

He has studied abroad through Buffalo State’s Sienna program, the longest running study abroad program for the college. He attended the event hoping to learn about opportunities as an art major in Israel.

“It helped me a lot. It gave me clear roots of what to be looking for in Israel,” O’Rourke said.

Some students were concerned about the safety of traveling to Israeli. Ian O’Rourke asked Lainer what they should tell a worried parent to ensure the safety of their wellbeing while living abroad in the country.

“Israel is a lot safer than many other places you would think of, including in this country,” Lainer said.

Lainer shared that he has been a career diplomat for over 16 years, serving in Africa, North America, and the Middle East. He also said that his position includes the issue of academic relations and academic affairs in the tri-state areas.

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