All across North America, university students and graduates apply for dozens of internships with ambitions to boost future career opportunities. Upon accepting an offer, we dread that our experience will involve filling coffee cups and copying papers, hope that we will learn valuable skills, and plan to establish a few beneficial contacts. But, we always stand confident that no matter what our tasks entail, we will put that company on our resume and (often with a bit of embellishment) make it appear like we completed the summer internship of a lifetime.
I graduated from the University of Arizona just a few months ago, and as I watched my peers head off to jobs and internships all across the country, I knew I wanted to do something different. As a recent graduate with no concrete path ahead of me, I was determined to ensure that the next chapter in my life would inspire me, teach me, and help mold my future. So, I veered away from traditional internships and jobs and applied for Career Israel, eager for professional experience, networking opportunities, new friends, and the chance to create a home in Israel. I arrived in Israel just over two months ago, and I cannot put into words how happy I am that I decided to travel along this unique path.
“Internships” aren’t part of the corporate culture in Israel. As an intern in this country, I am essentially an unpaid employee – an experience incomparable to any other learning opportunity I have had in the past. I am working in business development at Genome Compiler, a start-up company that has created an easy-to-use software platform for designing DNA. With only about a dozen people in the office, I was quickly integrated into the team, professionally and socially – we are a tight-knit community, all working together to push this company beyond its incredible potential. In the time span of a month, I have rapidly become a vital component of this start up – with so few people, my responsibilities truly lie on me. I can’t push them onto someone else, or assume another department will get something done if I don’t. Interning at a start-up company means experiencing true independence – while the employees around the office are more than willing to guide and mentor me, its my responsibility to learn, problem solve, ask questions, find answers, and complete every task that is thrown my way.
So, what do I do? My work varies from day-to-day – researching potential investors, learning how to prospect companies, reporting weekly analytics, and maintaining multiple databases are a few of the things I have accomplished over the last month. In a start-up company, there is always too much to do and ‘routine’ isn’t a word that often applies; Priorities change, deadlines move around, and I come to work everyday with the understanding that what I worked on yesterday may have to be put on the back burner until next week. The constant shuffling and shifting of tasks and projects forces me to be adaptable, a skill that is essential in any career, no matter what profession. My time at Genome Compiler thus far has been the ultimate learning curve – my day-to-day projects are stimulating, diverse, and essential to the company’s functionality and I have already been able to see the impact I am making on this growing start-up.
I love my internship – I’m working for an innovative and evolving firm filled with motivated, passionate, and intelligent people who live and breathe Genome Compiler. I feel so fortunate to be in a position that allows me to simultaneously learn, grow, make an impact, and be impacted – Career Israel created the perfect collaboration when matching me with this company. When my time at Genome Compiler comes to an end, I will proudly put this company on my resume and genuinely be able to express that I successfully completed the internship of a lifetime.