Jodi Geller of Sydney, Australia, interned at ConnecTLV on Career Israel’s February 2012 session.
Coming from a Jewish community in Sydney Australia I had always felt a little sheltered from the big outside world in the little Jewish bubble that was our community. On the many trips with a tour group or with family to Israel, I’d always enjoyed the atmosphere that Israel had to offer. Whether it was the fun and exciting people who always made you feel at home, or the fun things to see and do, Israel had always held a dear and special place in my heart.
When it came to choose to take a semester abroad, it came down to picking between a gap year program in Israel, or a semester of exchange in the US. Little did I know I would be getting both when I chose to come on Career Israel in my gap year after University.
I had always wanted to live for some time in Israel, in order to experience the Israeli world from a non-tourist or vacationer perspective. But I was scared as I had been told that it was a very hard place to live and make a career in. I decided to do Career Israel as I thought this would be a great mid-way point between living and working in Tel Aviv and taking that big leap of faith into moving here straight away. Having said that, whilst it is hard to live in Israel- it’s not for everyone- there is nothing I regret about now calling this crazy country my home.
I was at a crossroads in my career, having just finished university with a marketing/advertising degree with some electives in event management, and I didn’t know which direction I really wanted to take. When I found that Career Israel had an internship at ConnecTLV I was very excited, as this internship involved both marketing and organizing events. Through ConnecTLV I learned many new skills that helped me interact with Israeli’s in the business environment and in marketing. It was the great step I needed in order to decide the way I wanted to go with my career. I was also lucky in that there was a great group of volunteers with whom I became friendly, and they helped me along this path and helped me to grow. These wonderful people are still my friends today, two years later, showing that the people you meet along the way of this program are people who stay with you for a life time.
My internship was about helping new Olim integrate into Tel Aviv life, so I feel that I really was shown what it is like to live in Tel Aviv, how to find a job and navigate Israeli culture, which was so new and different, from my internship. At ConnecTLV we had many mixers, language nights and movie nights to help introduce Olim to Israeli culture and help them fit in, while making amazing friends in the process. It was through this experience that I learned skills for job hunting and improved my Hebrew through language exchange nights. By being exposed to people outside of our Career group I feel I was really able to integrate into Israeli life better and to expand my network. The experience I had during this time was invaluable and whilst it was not always easy it was great fun.
Once I finished Career Israel it was time to look for a real job. It was difficult at first, but I used some of the skills I had been taught in my internship to help get a job. My internship does not directly correlate to what I am doing now, but I know that I learned valuable skills. However, the interpersonal skills I learned in my internship have been put to great use as they really taught me how to communicate effectively with my colleagues and navigate Israeli work culture.
The one thing I have appreciated most about my time on Career Israel was being able to have a taste of the Israeli life and being able to work in an environment I would not have normally been in. From my internship I took away a great group of friends and a better understanding of who I am and what I want to do with my Career in the future. My life would not be the same if I had not taken the decision to pick up and start my career in Israel on Career Israel.