Shay Koren, 22, from Sydney, Australia, double major in psychology and sustainability, exchange student at UCM
Home is two countries
Shay Koren is a guy of lyric descriptions, or maybe it’s the nostalgia that comes when talking about home. He was born in Israel, and grew up in the town of Hod Hasha (close to Tel Aviv), until his family moved to Sydney. “We went there for a sense of adventure, but we ended up staying year after year.” Home is two countries for him.
On Israel: “I miss two qualities about Israel. Firstly, it’s got a dream-like quality; there’s a great sense of ‘feeling alive’ there that I haven’t experienced anywhere else. Secondly, there’s a very strong sense of community. I guess those things go hand in hand. You can sit on the bus, and whoever is next to you – it could be a student, a soldier or a grandpa – will tell you their life stories.” At the moment he is missing Australia as well, since it’s the home that he left four months ago. “I miss summer in Australia: Bondi Beach, one of the most perfect places in the world, people sitting with friends, music festivals.”
“I spent fifteen years in Israel and seven in Australia – they were important, my teen years. I don’t feel like a foreigner there or anything; everyone in Australia comes from all over the place.”
Koren is big on travelling. “It’s something in Israeli culture, I think. After military service a lot of young people will travel around for a while before starting work or their studies. There are a lot of good camping stores and sites in Israel. I bought my sleeping bag there and I’ve been using it ever since.” As with anything, Koren comes up with an Australian equivalent: a scarf he bought at a music festival, which he also uses as a towel at the beach. “It’s a little old now, but it’s become my travelling all-use thing.”