Despite the worldwide lockdown, an enthusiastic cohort of students arrived in Tel Aviv in fall 2020 for the inaugural year of the Columbia-Tel Aviv University Dual Degree in Liberal Arts program.
In a first-of-its-kind partnership between an Ivy League university and an Israeli institution of higher learning, the multidisciplinary program enables students to simultaneously earn two bachelor’s degrees—one from each institution.
Asher Dayanim, a first-year student from Philadelphia, chose the Dual Degree Program because it “fit all of my goals: to spend time in another country and learn a new language.”
Although he studied remotely from his TAU dorm room until April, Dayanim says he loved the content of his classes. He was able to become acquainted with fellow students at the dorms through regulated social activities in-person as well as online.
Now, upon his return to the classroom, he says, “Meeting my classmates after only seeing them on a zoom screen for a whole semester is a profound experience. I have already started to bounce around ideas about philosophy, history, politics and economics and to learn from their experiences.”
Dual-degree students study in TAU’s International Liberal Arts Program at the Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities for their first two years and spend their last two years at Columbia University in New York City.
“The results of our partnership with Columbia have even exceeded our expectations,” says Prof. Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, Head of the TAU side of the program. “Our students bring enormous energy, intelligence, and curiosity to the classroom, and the resulting synergy with their fellow students and their professors is palpable. The high level of our incoming cohort guarantees that the coming academic year will be even more exciting and productive.”
Featured image: Students in the Columbia-TAU Dual Degree program on the TAU campus. From left: Lemony David, Ann Mizrahi, Katie Friedman, Asher Dayanim and Kristupas Packauskas