My name is Nina Baker and I was a recent participant in Career Israel, a Masa Israel-accredited internship program.  I majored in Anthropology at Bucknell University and then worked as an Intellectual Property paralegal at the firm Kirkland & Ellis in New York City for two years.

After realizing medicine is actually where my interests lie, I quit my job and enrolled in the Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Health program at NYU where I satisfied the pre-med classes required to apply to health schools.  My decision to come to Israel was twofold: I wanted to gain hands-on experience in the world of medicine and therapy, as well as have the opportunity to shape my Jewish identity.

I interned at the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled in Ramat Gan.  I worked very closely with patients afflicted with cerebral palsy at the day center where they are provided daily activities.  In addition, I observed physical and physio therapies for the disabled athletes.  This internship allowed me to not only have hands-on patient experience, but to learn about therapies I didn’t know existed.  These experiences are invaluable when applying to health schools as well as figuring out which path in medicine I would like to follow.

The opportunity I was awarded through Career Israel allowed me to experience Israel in a way Birthright couldn’t.  Not only was I exposed to the Israeli medical world, but I also learned about religion and the state as well as other hot topics in Israel.  My favorite experience was the four-day cross-country hike, called Yam L’Yam, which I did with several other participants during Pesach break.  I hiked 80 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea to the Kinneret.  Though it was the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done, I was able to see and experience so many different types of terrain Israel has to offer.  It was a great way to feel a connection with the land of Israel in a way that listening to a lecture can’t offer.

The picture above is from the day we finally made it to the Kinneret.  I am holding a small bottle of Mediterranean Sea water.

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