For some young people living through the global recession, looking for work doesn't stop at the airport gates. Ariel Disner, 22, graduated from Michigan State University in spring 2011, but had a difficult time finding work using her business administration/pre-law Bachelor's degree. When the opportunity arose for her to intern in Israel, Disner said, she couldn't pass it up.
Disner is Jewish, a a 2007 graduate of who had participated in the Birthright Israel tour program which allows American Jewish youth an all-expenses paid vacation in Israel. However, immersed in her new culture in Tel Aviv, Disner shared that her internship was a far different from any vacation.
1. What are your impressions of working in Tel Aviv compared with taking a tour?
Prior to my internship in Tel Aviv, I had only been to Israel once before on Birthright and wow, was my experience different. Don’t get me wrong, Birthright was an amazing experience, but it by went so fast. Covering all of Israel in just 10 days, my time in Tel Aviv was slim. We of course went to the beach and saw the major tourist spots, but something was missing. After I graduated from Michigan State University, I was lost. Not sure what to do I decided to sign up for Career Israel, a five-month internship program. Living in Israel was truly amazing. Unlike a tour, I got to experience work, culture and religion through Israeli eyes while making lifelong friendships.
2. What do you hope to get from this experience?
I feel my experience abroad will look outstanding on my resume as opposed to staying at home and working. From experience, employers love hearing about the time I spent abroad and want to know if I can bring that international experience back home. By interning in Israel, while simultaneously learning to navigate the culture and learn Hebrew, employers are impressed with the fact that I can immerse myself successfully in another country. In my opinion, any college grad can score an internship, but by interning abroad I often go to the top of a company’s competitive list.
3. What's a typical day like?
In Israel, you can’t wake up 30 minutes before work, take a shower, and then hop in the car and begin your day. First things first, I need to turn on the dude, AKA the boiler, or my shower will be colder than ice. Once ready, my walk to work begins, and boy to I love it. My workday usually begins around 10 a.m., later than the U.S.A., I know.
The first thing I learned about Israelis, they are very relaxed. On the first day of work my employer said to me, “Come in to work when you want, leave when you want, but remember get your work done.” At work I wrote blogs and worked on numerous social media accounts; typical tasks for a global Internet company. Once the day was over, I’d headed home and watched the sunset on the sea, something I could never do in Michigan.
4. Could you describe the work which you do, and the startup which you're working with?
Career Israel set me up with an amazing internship at a global Internet company called All My Faves. Allmyfaves.com is the homepage that has eliminated the need for searching on computers, tablets and smartphones; by providing not only the logos of the most popular websites in any category, but also new, interesting sites to discover, based on your interests. As an intern I oversaw the development and launch of the All My Faves blog. In addition, I was responsible for deciding which content would be good for the website as well as reviewing many of the new websites All My Faves encourages users to discover every week. Career Israel and All My Faves helped me find passion in marketing. I hope to continue working in the social media-marketing field when I return back to Michigan.
5. Anything you have missed from Michigan, which, perhaps you did not expect to miss?
Of course, being in Israel for five months, I missed my family and friends. But what I really missed the most was fast food, in particular Taco Bell. The food in Israel is amazing, fresh, and delicious. But, sometimes I just craved that .99-cent garbage from Taco Bell. As I reacquaint myself into Michigan, I look forward to sharing with everyone the amazing experience I had in Israel. I would encourage everyone at some point to travel abroad, whether it be to Israel or somewhere else to gain international experience you can’t find in the United States.
I would do Career Israel all over again if I could. I have only been in Michigan one week and I am already searching new ways to go back go Israel. I now understand why so many people have fallen in love with Israel. Lehitra'ot or see you later Israel!
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