Q: What is your full name, where you are from, university if relevant, and city/program were you are on?
Harry Ehrlich, originally from Boston, MA, I was a participant on Destination Israel's 5-month August Internship program in Tel Aviv
Q: Why Israel?
When I first visited Israel in January of 2017 there was something that grabbed me. I was part of a Taglit group for working professionals (ages 24-27) and at that point in my life I was looking for the next stage. I had been working at a job in Boston for ~3 years, and even though I loved it and the people I was working with, I knew that to really grow and develop I needed to branch way out of my comfort zone. Originally I though that would mean moving somewhere else in America, but once I visited Israel, and Tel Aviv in particular, I knew there was something special here, something that i wanted to really explore and give a chance to.
The way that the people interact with you and with each other, is just flat out different than the states. Strangers’ getting into deep conversations is commonplace, and that is something that I cherish about living in Tel Aviv. English is the international language that connects us, and I am fortunate that it is this way. I have met incredible people from all over the world here in Tel Aviv and many of them began from striking up a random conversation. It's beautiful when strangers don't equal danger (ie see how strangers in America interact).
Q: What was your favorite moment during your journey?
My favorite moment so far was putting together my first photo gallery as a closing ceremony for my Destination Israel Program. It was an event that I worked on with fellow program participant Alissa Brown, and our goal was to share the many photos I had taken in the past five months with the people who the photos are of! I think what made it my greatest moment in Israel was how difficult the process was. I learned a lot about how Israeli's manage time, communicate, and how to solve problems on a condensed timeline. It was my greatest triumph, pushing it across the finish line without compromising the aspects of the event that were important to me. It was the hardest and most rewarding thing I have done in Israel for sure. I think a big part of that also comes from the fact that it was independently motivated and without putting myself out there it would have never even been an idea. Very glad it worked out!
Q: What was your internship like, what made it different from working in the USA?
Well, the internship portion of my program was interesting. It turns out that the internship I originally started with was the not the one I finished with. I won't get into the details of why my first internship wasn't a good fit, but I will say that i was able to have a candid and honest discussion with my "boss" and explain the reasons that it didn't work. I ended up pivoting into a position as a freelancer, working with friends of mine who also happened to be my teacher's for a fitness program I was doing. I was able to put my attention into creating videos and photos for their young business as a way to help grow their online presence. I think the main difference between my internship in Israel and internships I have held in America years ago, was I was coming in with much more experience, that I knew in what areas I could be effective for the company. Instead of it being a traditional internship, it was more a collaboration. But if I was giving advice to someone who was in a more traditional type of internship I would tell them to not be afraid to demonstrate their value and abilities to whoever their manager/boss is. In the end, you're not being paid for the work you're doing, so you should be going in with the mindset of "what can I do for this company that will make them ask the question 'should we be paying this person for the value they are adding?"
Q: Any advice for incoming Interns or newbies to Tel Aviv?
Taking risks and asking questions a huge part of the process and being within the safety net of Masa, it provides us with a unique opportunity to extend ourselves out of our comfort zone and really try to create professional/personal growth and change. Israeli work places are less buttoned up then traditional USA workplaces, be yourself and try new things and see how it works for you!
ALSO (this point is more important)
Meet everyone that you can, give people chances, don't give up on relationships with people because they act different or are from totally different places. You can make some incredibly strong international connections in 5 months, so MAKE THE MOST OF THE TIME!!!
Seriously tho...you can watch Netflix when you're in America, experience Israel while you are here!