How Jolene Amit hacked her internship

Photo: Jolene Amit and Assaf Luxembourg

Since starting this blog, I shared many of my thoughts about careers in the new world of work, why an entrepreneurial approach is key to survive and thrive, and how thinking like a business unit is the best way I know to operate in today’s work and business environment. 

Working with many international talents in Israel, and especially with “Olim” (those who made “Aliyah” – new immigrants) and participants of programs such as Masa Israel Journey, Onward Israel and others, I directed many of my tips for this community – from how to better look for a job and leverage your unique added value , through what is the secret opportunity of your internship and what is the most important thing to do when taking an internship, to how your internship is likely to behave, and many more…

Yes, I help many achieve what they want using these tips. But – nothing makes me happier than learning about people who “hacked it” by themselves, without stumbling upon any of those tips!

Such is the story of Jolene Ilkay Amit, who I came to learn about after she was covered on Israeli TV, and shared her story.


מסן דייגו לתל אביב: לגמרי במקרה הגיעה ג'ולין עמית לישראל לתקופה קצרה, התאהבה במי שהפך לבעלה – והתאהבה גם במסע.צפו בה, בתכנית אנשים ששודרה אתמול בקשת 12

פורסם על ידי ‏פרויקט מסע ישראל‏ ב- יום שלישי, 4 ביוני 2019

So, I sat down for coffee with Jolene and asked her to share more about her story, how she “hacked” her Israel internship experience, her thoughts about “being a business unit”, best tips for future young professionals in Israel, and more.

For those who are TOO LAZY to watch the awesome TV article about you – could you please recap your story?

Hello, my name is Jolene Amit. I grew up in San Diego, California. Currently, I am the Director of Marketing for a leading B2B software company which provides Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) using AI and Machine learning to supply valuable insights on product quality and machine efficiency for manufacturing plants. I started my career just over 11 years ago as a participant on the MASA internship program. What I didn’t realize at that time was that this experience would ultimately be exactly what I needed to start my career. I was provided with the necessary tools and experiences to take the right steps and eventually reach where I am today. 

What was your original motivation to sign up an internship program in Israel?

I graduated college at the break of the economy crash in 2008. I had a hard time figuring out how I would find a job and in what exactly? I never worked in an office and I had no idea what to expect. I knew I needed to learn more about myself and what gets me inspired, how I would manage to work in an office and how I could be of benefit with absolutely no experience. I thought of potentially making aliyah but I had no idea what it was like working and living in Israel and I needed help finding a place to work and live in addition to discovering more of what Israel has to offer all in the comfort of an organized program. 

What was the hardest moment in that journey, from an unpaid intern to a fresh Olah with a job, and a career path?

After making Aliyah, I needed some time to adjust to my new life. Figure out where I would live, set up a bank account, health insurance, start Hebrew classes while simultaneously finding my next career opportunity. The truth is, it wasn’t easy at all. I would be lying if I were to say it was anything less than extremely hard. Every day was challenging and I cried… a lot. There were great days and then there were some of my hardest days. I missed my comfort zone back in the States – but I wouldn’t change anything, not one thing. That year made strong and unstoppable. I learned more about myself in that one year then I did my whole 23 years of existence. I fought, I learned, I challenged myself, I became truly independent and I achieved more than I ever thought I could. And because I didn’t let myself fail, I found the perfect company to learn, grow and develop in. 

 What helped you the most to overcome this challenging moment?

I realize that I was very lucky to have a support system. I do not have any relatives here in Israel so I relied a lot on my boyfriend at that time who is now my husband and his family. I also had some friends who made aliyah at the same time, so it was such a relief to have their support – especially since we knew exactly what we were going through. 

From an unpaid intern doing Masa, to someone who now hires interns – how does it look from the other side?

I try and be the person that I needed when I was a recent graduate. I try and be as supportive and sensitive to each intern’s individual needs. Everyone is different and everyone comes with their own unique agenda. I want it to be an experience that is lasting in their lives, a learning experience which acts as a springboard to set their career. 

What is your best career advice for new Olim, especially young professionals who made Aliyah to Israel?

Try to take every day – one step at a time. Life is amazing here but it doesn’t mean that there won’t be challenges. Take time to let your new Israeli life sink in. Create your own support system. Don’t try and achieve everything all at once. Once you’ve done that – then make a plan, set your goals and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. 

Try and think about the type of environment that you want to work in? Envision it, see your goals in your mind as if it were a movie. Actually see yourself achieving your goals and before you know it you will be taking the right steps to make your goals a reality. 

What is your best advice for career-minded young professionals who are currently doing an internship program in Israel?

Success won’t come easy, you must put in the hard work. Your experience will be defined by exactly the efforts that you put in. Hold regular discussions with your boss. Do not just sit and wait to get what you want, be proactive, get involved and take advantage of the opportunities given to you. And last but not least, network! It’s the people that you will meet in this internship that will remember you and who will give you that extra push in the future

What is your advice for those who consider an internship program in Israel?

Think about what type of career you would like to start. Think about the type of work environment you would like to work in and the type of colleagues you would like to work with. What type of skills would you like to gain? Once you’ve figured out what type of internship you would like to do, make sure you meet a few companies. Interview the manager, try and understand what type of value you will gain from the internship. Understand that you are your  own business unit and you are in control of your experience. 

What is your advice for any young professionals out there, who may struggle to find their career path?

You must believe in yourself. Be confident in your uniqueness. Create a circle around you of people you admire to be like and soon enough you will set your standards high. Think of what excites you and what will make you want to get up in the morning. Physically write down the goals you want to achieve. Then the steps you take from now on should take you one step closer to those goals. 

What is your best advice for local Israeli employers who want to make the most out of their international interns?

This is an amazing experience for employers to get new and fresh ideas, native English and an amazing opportunity to receive recent college graduates eager to learn, grow and develop. This could have an immense, positive impact on your organization. It is important to provide an inspiring working environment with real world tasks that provide value to the intern.

About the Author
Assaf is passionate about promoting business in and with Israel, helping and mentoring entrepreneurs, advising young professionals with career planning and self-fulfillment, and more. Assaf acts as a brand ambassador of Israel as 'Start-Up Nation', speaking to thousands of businessmen, investors, entrepreneurs, young professionals, students and others, both in Israel and around the world. Assaf also works as a business development and marketing consultant to Israeli start-ups and others.
Related Topics
Related Posts