In the Spotlight #1 – Tom

We believe in community building by introducing our members! #SpotlightChabadOnCampus spotlights a different community member each week to showcase the diversity and strength of our community. This week Tom shares her personal story.

I was born in Israel and lived in Nigeria and Ghana until graduating from high school. After that, I moved to Amsterdam. I decided to move to Amsterdam for university because I wanted to experience a completely different environment and climate. Living in Amsterdam was the first time I experienced all four seasons and one of the few times I got to see snow. It is hard to decide which country is my favorite to live in because they all have their benefits. They have all shaped the person I am today, and I am grateful to have been able to live in each of them. However, if I had to pick one, I would probably say Ghana.  

tom israel chabad on campus jewish student jewish

While in many countries, free education is provided to children, that is still not the case everywhere, like in Ghana. While living there, I volunteered at an elementary school. The children who went to the school had very few resources. Seeing this firsthand made me reflect on the importance of education and how much I took it for granted. Once a month, I would go back to the elementary school in Ghana with some classmates, and we brought games and art supplies to allow the kids to develop new skills. We also fundraised to supply the school with their art supplies.

By doing this, I have known that I want to work with children in the future. For that reason, I started to study psychology at university to start many careers that appeal to my interests. In my senior year of high school, I became interested in speech therapy after volunteering for Operation Smile. During that volunteer trip, I got to shadow a speech therapist and finally found a job that allowed me to work with children and that was scientifically based. That is why I want to get a master’s degree in Speech Therapy and Language Therapy in the future.

Now that my bachelor’s degree is coming to an end, the big question is where to go. I have the feeling that I have not yet fully experienced the Netherlands. That is why I plan to stay in the Netherlands for another year to obtain a master’s degree in Developmental Psychology.

Being far away from my family, it was an amazing experience to meet so many wonderful people, both through university and through the activities of Chabad On Campus, who are here just like my family. 

Jan van Brakel
Content Creator & Youth Worker at Chabad On Campus NL

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