“Alabama’s Jordan Ross is making a name for himself in the marketing industry. He has just completed an internship with Hewlett Packard Israel and has plans to make Aliyah to pursue a marketing career post IDF-service in Israel.
Living in the friendly and slow-moving south is a whole lot different than living in Tel Aviv, where the lifestyle is fast-paced and everyone is going somewhere. I’m used to being able to hop into my Ford F-150, drive down wide open roads where no one cuts each other off or honks incessantly, listening to country music. In Tel Aviv, I ride the crowded city buses, listen to drivers honking, watch people switch lanes at high speeds with pin-point accuracy, and am constantly aware when walking on sidewalks in case I need to dodge mopeds.
I grew up in a small city called Daphne in southern Alabama along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. Life is easy there. It’s a sportsman’s paradise with year-round golfing, boating, and fishing. The breeze warms you as you stroll along Mobile Bay at sunset. It’s an artists’ haven for both beginners and advanced artisans, teeming with festive cultural celebrations, southern charm, friendly neighbors, magnolias, architectural delights, and fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. The Jewish community is very small there–I was one of two Jews in my graduating high school class of over 300 students.
For my college years I went to The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa–15-time National Football Champions and one of the best universities in the U.S. I graduated in December of 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Information Sciences. During my time at Alabama, I was a member of Zeta Beta Tau, a traditionally Jewish fraternity. I was also involved with Alabama’s Hillel. Though I became friends with more Jews then I ever did before and loved my time, we were still a minority with approximately 800 identified Jews on a campus of 32,000 students.
During my final semester, I began to ask myself, “What are you doing after college?” I knew I wanted to travel and do something fun before committing to a career, but I didn’t know what to do or where to go. After doing research on international internships, I came across the Masa website. Not long after, I was on my way to Israel for the Career Israel experience.
There were so many internship options to choose from in the Business Development and Marketing sector. I wanted to make sure I would aim for companies that would look great on my resume and that I would learn from. A marketing position at Hewlett Packard (HP) was always my number one choice.
Before going to the office on the first day, I was pretty nervous because I didn’t know what to expect in terms of the work environment and how people in the office would respond towards me. I’ve been told Israelis are very straight forward and not known for their politeness. Luckily, getting to the office was easy because someone on the sales team lived very close by and gave me a ride to work. The sales rep was very nice and outgoing which saved me from feeling awkward. She found it very odd that an American would want to come all the way over to Israel to work for free but was polite about it.
My boss and people on the team were great to work with. They were warm and welcoming and they treated me as a team player, not just an intern. The HP Software sales team was a family-like atmosphere. I shared some of my own culture with them and taught them what “Roll Tide” meant and how to incorporate it in everyday life. “Roll Tide” is a universal expression among ‘Bama Nation, versatile and applicable in nearly every situation as a greeting, farewell, standard cheer, or praise. Even though no one in the entire office went to the University of Alabama, people on the team would say “Roll Tide” when I was around.
I had the chance to learn about different kinds of software that is sold on the market today and gained valuable experience that will help me with my career in the future. These people were amazing and wish I could stay on longer. If any future Career Israel participant gets a chance to intern with HP Software, they won’t regret it.
Coming on this program has been one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve come to a better understanding of life in Israel, and have developed a stronger appreciation for Israeli people. I’m not sure where life will take me next, but I know my time here has made me a more knowledgeable and better person.