We first went to Technion in Haifa, also known as the Israel Institute of Technology (an equivalent to MIT). Technion had a beautiful campus and we had a guided tour by one of the students of this university. After an amazing video that talked about the accomplishments of this university (including two Nobel Prizes won by the past members of this school!), we were able to walk around the campus with our tour guide. We were able to walk through some science buildings where we saw some of the projects that students have been working on.
Although a good portion of our day was spent on the bus traveling from northern Israel towards central Israel, we didn't mind as we were able to spend time talking to the Israeli students and sharing what our cultures are like. We taught each other slang terms, which really was great (or “sababa”, which is what you would say in Hebrew).
After some time in the bus, we reached our next destination: NICE. NICE uses artificial intelligence (AI) and we were shown how AI really works. We were introduced to the robot NEVA that this company was working on, which was a robot that would be used by businesses for applications to improve the speed of transactions and provide a second wall of security for potential cyber hackers.
After our time at NICE, we made our way to the Holon Israel Museum for a very touching and inspirational experience called “Dialogue in the Dark” where we would experience what it was like to be blind. We were led into a pitch black room, guided by a visually impaired person, and we were to use our senses of touch, smell, and hearing to get through. We were led to 7 common situations or events that a blind person may encounter: finding ourselves around nature, in a house, on a boat, on a street, in the city, around music, ordering food at a restaurant or open bar, and in the market. In complete darkness, we walked around trying to figure out our surroundings and observing everything with the senses we had accessible at the time. After this tour, we were actually also able to talk to our guide and ask questions about their experience in the world and how they get by on their day to day lives. There was so much to take away from this eye-opening activity. One main thing that stood out was that blind people are the same as any other person in this world and should be treated the same as anyone else. Especially with one of the guides of this tour, people who are visually impaired accept what they are given and learn how to live with it. Everyone should learn to live like this as well. I would have to say that this was such a powerful and moving encounter that we will all remember.