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Meet Madison Goldberger

Meet one of TAU’s Remarkable Students – Madison Goldberger from Montreal – Third-year medical student at Sackler Faculty of Medicine

“You’re as young as your Dreams – not as old as your Calendar”

By Madison Goldberger , Sackler School of Medicine, Class of 2018, 2016 Deans Award Recipient for Academic Excellence in the First Year of Studies

J’aimerias commencer par m’introduire, je m’appele Madison Goldberger et je suis une etudiamte en medicine dans ma troisieme annee du programme Sackler School of Medicine New York State/American Program. Je suis une Montrealaise qui a etudiee au niveau primaire et secondaire dans une ecole juive. Ensuite j’ai ontenu mon DEC a Dawson College en First Choice Health Science et j’ai recu mon baccalaureat de sciences en Physiologie a l’Universite de McGill.

I identify as a true Montrealer and my roots in the city extend deep. So understandably it was a very difficult decision to leave my hometown and the familiarity of Montreal to embark on a new adventure in a foreign country.

One of the things that I worried about was moving to a country whose primary language was not English. Although I learned Hebrew in Jewish day school I had not used the language for over 5 years and was not confident about my fluency in the language. Would I feel left out? How would I navigate around the city? These are examples of questions that gave me pause. I reflected on my upbringing and my life until that point and I came to the realization that I was well equipped to face this challenge.

As soon as I walked off the plane 2 ½ years ago the Israeli people were extremely welcoming. They did not care that I made grammatical mistakes or that I did not know some words. They were patient with me and took the time to translate and helped me work on my Hebrew. I quickly adopted the Israeli motto of “Ihiyeh bseder” – it will be ok – and sure enough it was.

Another worry of mine was regarding attending Tel Aviv University. Being a third generation McGillian I had been surrounded by McGill and its reputation my entire life. Now, I was travelling in unchartered territory. How would my new professors be? What would campus-life be like? How would I get along with the non-North American students outside of my program? These were all very serious considerations of mine.

One of the reasons I decided to attend Sackler was because of its great match reputation. Every year Sackler students obtain excellent residency matches in the US and in Canada. In addition, there are many student-run initiatives at Sackler such as the recently launched Sackler Journal of Medicine. Also, recently Sackler has set up a fund to support its students who are doing scientific research at the university and at various hospitals in the area.

The education and facilities at Tel Aviv University are top notch – The professors are knowledgeable, caring, and passionate. The university is teeming with student life and there are constant efforts to integrate the North American students into life on campus and in Israel. Every week there is an open-air market on campus where you can buy fresh produce, clothing, and local arts and crafts. In the faculty of medicine there is the annual Sackler Olympics where the different classes in the Israeli and American programs get together in the spirit of sportsmanship and compete in various competitive athletics. On a greater scale the TAU buddy program pairs Israeli students with American students in order to help the non-Israeli students get accustomed to life in Tel Aviv. After being here only a short while I felt comfortable. More importantly I felt like I was part of a family.

I think that that is one of the magical things about being in Israel – feeling at home. Tel Aviv is a very special place and reminds me of home. Tel Aviv is as much a multi-cultural city as Montreal is. There are people here from all walks of life, who speak many different languages, and who contribute something unique to life in Israel. There is an abundance of culture, food, art, music, festivals, and sporting events in the city. It truly never sleeps. You can never get bored here.

I view my experience in Israel much like a quote from Shimon Peres (z”l), whose passing affected the entire country and the world at large.

“You’re as young as your dreams – not as old as your calendar”.

The Israeli people are always looking to the future and are constantly trying to integrate themselves on a global scale. This city is home to world-renowned hospitals and research facilities in every field of science and technology. I feel like throughout my time in Tel Aviv I have adopted the work ethic and determination of the Israeli people. I am inspired by their perseverance despite the many obstacles they are forced to overcome. They are a special people who treat foreigners as family and welcome them with open arms. And even though I might be made fun of for saying “sorry” all the time there is a sense of unity and togetherness in Tel Aviv that has made this city my second home. The “joie de vivre” is as much alive here as it is in Montreal.

As I reflect on the past two and a half years in Israel I begin to feel nostalgic. As part of my program I will be completing my fourth year medical school electives in the US. On the one hand I am excited for the bright future that I have been prepared for but on the other hand I am sad that I have to write the last few paragraphs of this chapter of my life. I have made many friends here and together we have shared many joyful memories. The Sackler community, the students and staff at Tel Aviv University, my mentors at the hospitals, and the people of this city make me feel like I have a second home.


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