10 hours and 35 minutes. That’s how long the flight is from my home state of New Jersey to the holy land of Israel. That’s how long it took for my entire summer to change.
Let’s rewind a few months. I’m in my college house at Rutgers University talking to friends about summer plans. Some mentioned they were doing an internship in Israel through Onward’s Jinternship program. I had no idea such a program existed. Getting an internship in Israel and being able to travel the land? I was sold on the idea and I sold my parents too. Everything was going great until May, when Hamas gave a lovely gift to Israel in the form of rockets with no gift receipt.
Now I don’t know if you know, but there are two main kinds of Israeli parents. Those that don’t give a crap about what their kids do and those that give way too much a crap. Can you guess which one my Israeli father is? My parents’ green light turned red, and no matter how much I begged (ticket already booked), they were steadfast in basically not letting me go (though nothing was official yet up to this point).
Fast forward and I’m in upstate NY with friends a week before my flight. We were having a great time and then I got a call that devastated me. My parents said I couldn’t go to Israel. They were concerned for my safety and felt they wouldn’t be able to function knowing my life could be in danger. The next day I came to terms that I wouldn’t be spending my summer in Israel and I started to look for other jobs. Not too long into the job application process I got a call from my parents. They told me they changed their minds and I should email the director of the program and tell her I was, in fact, coming. My dad later explained that my grandmother convinced them that if they don’t let me go, it’s like letting Hamas win.
On the plane is where it really hit me. My whole summer was about to change in the next 10 hours and 35 minutes. I was about to embark on an amazing journey to Israel and experience what it is like to work and be there for two months. And after a flight and minimal sleep later, I made it to Israel and through my quarantine. After so much back and forth I finally made it. But I still didn’t have my internship. Due to my majors (mainly the sport management one in this case), it was difficult finding an internship in the sports field. So we moved on to my other major, communications.
Still without an internship, I enjoyed the other parts of my program which included the first two weeks focusing on Judaic learnings, trips to explore the land and culture, weekend programming and even free time to just be and explore Israel on our own. I knew I would eventually find an internship, so in the meantime I focused on making friendships and connections that would last a lifetime.
After searching and interviewing, I found an internship at Yissum, the Technology Transfer Arm of the Hebrew University. On my first day I learned about the university’s cutting-edge technology, the researchers, and their amazing startups. I even initiated a project of my own to focus on their LinkedIn ecosystem (I’m using the new terms I learned too!). I have pitched ideas of my own, sat in on executive meetings, and can’t wait to learn more. This blog will help me document my journey and give you, the reader, an opportunity to see what an internship in Israel looks like, and a place for my parents to keep up with my new lifestyle (see, they didn’t have to be worried about not checking in, I am right here).
Outside of the office, I am having my anticipated cultureshock. Although because of my Israeli family, I think I am having an easier time than others. I am used to bad driving and yelling in the shuk. I am used to the fact that not everyone speaks English, and yes, I can use my Hebrew I’ve learnt from my family and years of Jewish education. What has been the main surprise is the business casual dress code; you are able to wear jeans and sneakers, which is very different from the more professional business casual dress code of the states.
So that is a little bit about me and where I am at. I am going to document my time here until the end of July as an American intern in Israel. I will talk about my experiences with finally being in an in-person internship (because all my prior ones were online due to Covid) and how I navigate the life, culture, and bus systems of Israel in regard to the internship. I’m excited to bring you all on this journey with me and we will see how it goes!