As a young woman from the Netherlands just starting her life, the decision to make Aliyah wasn’t easy for Danielle Keizer. But Danielle (25), who made Aliyah in 2015, had one major thing going for her. She had strong family ties in Israel, and would visit them almost every summer. During those summers she was able to make many friends and create a social circle here. “Every time I came to Israel, I simply felt at home. Here, I was accepted for who I am,” Danielle says. “I never had to explain why I keep kosher or don’t travel on Shabbat. It's a given. It's a different story, in the Netherlands.”
Danielle was felt so at-home in Israel, that after graduating high school in 2009, she joined a MASA program, and spent a year touring and studying in Israel, and even taking a few classes at Bar-Ilan. “It was an amazing year,” remembers Danielle. “Not only did I enjoy touring Eretz Israel, but I also got to study at BIU’s Midrasha for women and was able to take interesting courses in various subjects.”
Going back home, she decided to acquire a degree in the Netherlands, and then make Aliyah. Although it was a difficult decision to leave her hometown of Amstelveen in the Netherlands, everything seemed to fall into place once she discovered BIU’s MSc Program in Biology. It had everything she wanted for her master's degree: advanced experimental research with a strong theoretical background. Currently in her first year as a master’s student at BIU’s Faculty of Life Sciences, Danielle is also helping develop new techniques to help the immune system fight cancer, in BIU's Immunology and Cancer Research Lab headed by Prof. Mira Barda-Saad.
"When I began looking for a Master's program in Israel, Bar-Ilan University was the first place that came to mind. BIU is a university that welcomes everyone! Whatever student activity I attend here, I get to meet new people from all over the world, yet with similar backgrounds as mine. I made so many new friends here!” Danielle says she feels right at home here, especially because, “both the students and professors at BIU are very open and really want you to succeed, so they help you with whatever you need. Even though my Master's program is taught in Hebrew, I still have the option to take tests and write my final thesis in English, which is a huge plus.”
As for her future plans, Danielle would like to continue in with her scientific research. “Once I complete my MSc, I’ll decide where to go next. But no doubt I will be able to take with me all the knowledge I acquired here and all the friendships I created. Those are for life!"