American in Israel: Area Supervisor, Zach Dunseth talks to us about coming to Israel for the first time


Zach is a Ph.D. candidate in geoarchaeology at Tel Aviv University studying Intermediate Bronze Age (c. 1950-2500 BCE) subsistence practices in the Negev Highlands. Zach, received his masters from the TAU International Program in 2013, and was an undergrad at George Washington University in Washington, DC.


When was your first visit to Israel?

I came to Israel for the first time in 2008 to excavate at Tel Megiddo. Still here (and at Megiddo) almost ten years later, you could say I got hooked.

What was your biggest fear coming here?

I guess there were two major ones. The first was the language barrier; I didn’t speak any Hebrew and I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to read the signs to get out of the airport. But lucky for me almost everyone in Israel speaks English, and every sign in Israel is in three languages (Hebrew, English, and Arabic). The second was not so much my fear as it was my family’s. The news coverage of what’s going on in Israel and the Middle East is a little bit deceiving in the sense that people often think that it’s not a safe place to be in. However, I have to say that being in Israel is nothing like the images you see on TV. I’ve always felt safe here.

What was your biggest adjustment?

The Israeli mentality. Israelis are really friendly, but also a lot more out outspoken and forward than what I was used to back home. Don’t be intimidated! There’s a good chance that if you’re ever in need of any help or assistance and ask a random person on the street to help you out that they’ll go above and beyond to help you out. The best thing about Israelis is that even if you go to a bar alone, someone will approach you and start a conversation, and you may even end up at their family Friday night dinner. They are really big on hospitality and making sure you feel like you’re part of the family, even though you’ve just met.

What’s your tip for anybody coming to Israel for the first time?

A common Israeli saying is “yehiye beseder” (יהיה בסדר ) which translates to “it will be okay”, they say this about anything that causes any concern. So, I would embrace that saying and not worry because as you will see – yehiye beseder!

I would also try to do things that aren’t in the tourist guides, ask any of the staff members that live in Israel for tips.

If you have any questions before you come here feel free to write to us, we promise to do our best to make sure you know that yehiye beseder.


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