Carly Comer interned at Save a Child’s Heart while on Career 14 in 2013

My Israel experience began at age sixteen when I went on a 5-week summer teen trip to Israel. It was on this trip that I decided that the next time I returned, it would be for the opportunity to fully immerse myself in Israeli society. Eight years later, after working for a year and a half in research and in the midst of the notorious waiting game that goes with medical school applications, I picked up and moved to Tel Aviv to participate in Career Israel’s Spring 2013 session. I was ready for a change and Career Israel was the ideal program for it.

CI1-Friends I quickly learned the unique presence of Israel and the Israeli mentality. There is a simultaneous blending and segregation of ideologies, opinions, values, religious thought, and tradition, and the uncanny feeling of connection that I remembered as a teen immediately returned. Highlights of my time in Israel were a combination of seminars planned by Career Israel and trips and explorations I did on my own and with friends. I hiked in the Negev and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Kinneret. I ran the Tel Aviv Marathon 10k and had the opportunity to speak with Arab-Israeli youth. I experienced the twenty-four hour emotional turnaround as the nation mourned on Yom Hazikaron and celebrated on Yom Ha’atzmaut, found my favorite eats and drinks in Tel Aviv, and met some incredible people! But it was my internship with the nonprofit organization Save A Child’s Heart that really resonated with me. CI2-hiking Save A Child’s Heart (SACH) is an Israeli-based international humanitarian project that provides children with heart disease from developing countries with quality pediatric cardiac care and creates centers of competence in these nations. While on Career Israel, I interned with SACH, assisting with various projects and administrative responsibilities, and also worked with the kids staying in the children’s home as they had life saving heart surgery in Israel. I immediately was drawn to the organization as I saw children from Africa, Asia, the West Bank, and Gaza all receive the care that each child deserves, no matter their background.

I stayed involved with SACH when I came back to the states last fall to begin medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA, and this summer returned to Israel and to SACH to volunteer full-time in the children’s home and participate in the organization’s medical internship program. As a SACH medical intern, I spent two weeks at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, where I had the opportunity to learn from some of Israel’s finest doctors and surgeons and see how the common language of medicine can be used as a bridge for peace.

Returning to Israel, one year later, felt like a natural homecoming. I caught up with friends, spent afternoons on the Tel Aviv beaches and evenings on Dizengoff, and continued to grow professionally. Career Israel was the perfect stepping-stone to establish strong personal ties and professional relationships in Israel, both of which I know I will continue maintain as I pursue my career in medicine!

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