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Undergraduate Student Life



Abroad in Israel: Settling in and learning the ropes

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Abroad in Israel: Settling in and learning the ropes

By Amy Vogel ’20

I have been in Israel now for about 3 weeks, and loving every minute of it. After I got off the plane, I got to spend a few nice days with my family in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem before heading up to Haifa. We celebrated the Jewish holiday of Purim together, which was a lot of fun! Two weeks ago on Sunday, I moved into my dorm at the Technion (“the MIT of Israel”). I live in an apartment-style dorm shared with four other international research students, and they are great roommates!

My airplane right before landing in Tel Aviv

The professor I am working for here is Tomer Toledo, PhD ’03 in Civil and Environmental Engineering/ Transportation Research Institute at MIT. My first official day of work was the Monday after I moved in, and one of Tomer’s students, Omar, welcomed me and showed me around. For his PhD, Omar is working on designing efficient toll lane systems with dynamic pricing, and this is also the project I’ll be working on while I’m here.

Last week was mostly my orientation to the school and to the research; I learned how to use a transportation-modeling software called TransModeler. I also learned about the Cell Transmission Model (CTM), which can be used for lots of different things, but in this case we are applying it to modeling traffic flow.

This week I got to work on building a MATLAB program that would read in data from TransModeler and run macroscopic simulations. In other words, while TransModeler will show each individual car driving along the highway, we are interested in modeling the overall flow of cars on the highway, and how that changes with time.

Running a practice simulation on TransModeler (look familiar?)

Since I started work, I have met a handful of the other graduate students working on related projects, many of whom are also Tomer’s students. And I’ve had some fun, too!

Last weekend I went into Haifa’s German Colony with my roommate, and we walked by the Bahai Gardens and then ate at a delicious restaurant called Fattoush. This week, I tried out an acting/improv class for people trying to learn Hebrew, and I had a lot of fun with that!

View of Bahai Gardens

Delicious food at Fattoush

I haven’t decided yet how I’ll spend this weekend, but I am looking forward to the many weeks and weekends to come, and hope to have as many interesting experiences as I can squeeze into three months.

Amy Vogel ’20 is studying abroad in Israel at Technion this semester, where she is working alongside Tomer Toledo, PhD ’03. Her abroad experiences have been facilitated by MISTI MIT-Israel.