“Multiculturalism and communication have always been important to me, and being student president of Gulf Coast Hillel helped me get to know people from different backgrounds. As an international student from Israel, I really liked learning how American Jews celebrate Jewish holidays because their customs were a little different from my own. We taught and accepted each other, and to me, that proved the strength of the international Jewish community. For my senior thesis film as a computer animation major at Ringling College of Art and Design, I made an animated short about a Middle Eastern traveler that gets lost on a train in China with a panda. She has to learn to communicate with him in order to find the experience she is looking for. The film was about adapting to a new culture and learning about other cultures, which was very similar to my own experience at Hillel. Our community of Hillel students shared the commonality of being Jewish, but there was still room for us to learn from one another. Getting to know people from different places and cultures has made me a more understanding person. It was a learning experience that helped me better myself for the future.” — Shir Baron, Animation Intern at Riot Games, Inc.