At the age of 18, Daniel Amar joined the military right out of high school — and he knew it was inevitable. Although it is common for young men and women to embrace this patriotic act in the U.S. and in countries throughout the world, in Israel, it is a requirement. But after serving for three years, Amar, now 21, finally has the opportunity to move on.
Knowing he would continue to pursue his education after life in the military, Amar moved from his hometown of Dimona, Israel, to the U.S. With major life changing experiences under his belt, he recently came to Virginia Tech for a fresh start.
Students in Blacksburg are most likely familiar with the study abroad program offered here at Tech. But there is a chance that unless they are taking World Regions or majoring in international studies, they have not met the Italian student who sits next to them every day, the South African who takes their 8 a.m. engineering class, or even Amar himself. International students are present all over campus and, like Amar, they are here to get a taste of what it feels like to live overseas.
The Collegiate Times sat down with Amar to talk about his experiences.
What are you studying while you are at Tech?
I’m majoring in business and I’m trying to get a high GPA to get accepted into the business school. I want to study business in marketing; I’m very interested in the marketing part because I like to communicate with people. I think this job will be the best fit for me.
When did you arrive in the United States?
I’ve been in the states four times and this is my fifth. But I’ve been in (Blacksburg) since the beginning of August. I’ve been to New York — I have a big family there — and I was there for a week before I came here. This is my first time studying in the States.
How long are you staying here for?
The scholarship is for five years. I practice with the Tech soccer team, but I can’t play this year because I played professionally. When I was in the army, I played professionally for the last year and a half of my service. The NCAA didn’t allow me to play this year, but next year hopefully, I will play.
I noticed that you said you were previously in the army. Tell me about your experiences.
In Israel, it’s mandatory for boys to attend the army and to serve for three years straight from high school — like a month after graduation. I learned a lot and became more mature; it’s a transformation for an 18-year-old boy to become a man. You have to take care of yourself; there’s no one to look after you, you have your own schedule, and you have to face difficult sights. Actually, I just finished a month and a half ago and after finishing, I came here.
What influenced your decision to study at this school specifically?
I decided to learn in the United States — to go to a Virginia university to study and play soccer. I got a lot of offers from different places and Virginia Tech came to me and talked to me about joining them. The coaches came to Israel to watch me play. I decided to come to Tech because it feels like a “home” place and it makes me feel good that they came to Israel to talk to me personally. I’m so glad I made this choice and I’m so happy right now.
What is it like living in Israel?