I have been working with internship programs in Israel such as Masa Israel Journey, Onward Israel, Gap-year programs and others for a long time already, both as an employer and mentor to participants, as a content provider and a consultant to program managers, and many more.
I’m pretty sure the following advice goes way beyond just Israel-internship-programs, perhaps maybe even universally for all internships all over the world, and beyond that too. However, I wish to focus on what I know, and know very well.
So, if you are coming for an internship program in Israel, whether that’s a 2-month, 4-month, 8-month or year-long program, here’s my best advise for you:
Define and focus on your long, mid and short-term goals.
- Long-term goals: Where do you want to be in 10 years? If deep inside – you know, be honest with yourself. If you don’t, figuring that out is not a bad mid-term goal. However, as a wise man once said, “if you don’t know where you’re going – you’ll have a hard time getting there…”
- Mid-term goals: What would you like to happen, once the program is over? What would you like to achieve by then, that you still haven’t by now? This could be getting a job in Israel in a specific industry or profession, or, figuring out your career strategy ahead (as mentioned above). It could be acquiring certain skills and experiences, or, deciding if a certain profession is right for you or not. It could be getting the best recommendation letter for the MBA you are applying for, or many other pragmatic goals. Also, make sure your mid-term goals are connected and related to your long-term goals, and that they are actually promoting you towards them.
- Short-term goals: What needs to happen during your internship program, in order for you to achieve your mid-term goals? This will help you understand which tasks at the office better serve your interests, what you should focus in now, where your energy and focus should be invested, which networking events and meetups you should look for and attend, and so on.
One of the best things with the way internship programs in Israel are constructed (such as Masa Israel Journey, Onward Israel, etc), is that you, as a participant, have a lot of control. This allows you to take a pro-active approach and shape your internship experience into the way that is most valuable to you.
Combined with the Israeli business culture and mindset, this is an incredible opportunity. If, of course – you know what you want. And that’s exactly what I hope my advice will help you understand for yourself.
Coming to Israel with such programs for an “experience” is cool. But for me – “empowerment” is ever cooler. It’s how Israel can actually add value to your journey. You are actually coming to Israel to invest in yourself, and I want your ROI (return-on-investment) to be as positive as possible.
So, be “Dugri” and communicate all the above with your Israeli employer, mentor, program manager, and align expectations with them – and with yourself. Help them understand how to help you the most.
Last but not least, please install the right entrepreneurial state-of-mind in your head, and understand that as an internship program participant in Israel, you are also a business unit. Apply this in the office, when looking for the “gold” in the “gray”. Apply this outside, when you are doing biz-dev instead of looking for a job. Use the benefits of the program to better understand your “why”, and your unique added values, which actually matter to your future employer.
Use your Israel internship experience to “hack” the new world of work.
Yalla, get to work!