I anticipated that joining the Israeli workforce, even as an unpaid intern, would open my eyes to new elements of Israel’s culture– I was right. Over the last couple months, I worked at two different places, met many interesting people from varying backgrounds, and poured long hours in to feel the rewards of hard work.
At my first job, I worked at a media company, helping with video editing and live recording and production. The company I worked for did strictly contract work, meaning every project was with a different set of people. This style of work meant I met everyone from political figures to worldwide news anchors to non-profit leaders. It helped me realize how important it is to treat everyone professionally and with respect, as people are working toward their own goals and facing their own challenges in their lives.
In addition, this was my first time working under a boss in a standard office setting, so getting used to the grind of office life was tough at first, but a valuable experience to have. My schedule involved a commute via two public buses, which helped me better understand Jerusalem’s layout, and in this practical way, feel more like a local.
My second job was working for an organization that educates young English-speaking Jews about Judaism and Israel. I witnessed the passion that educators have for what they do, and appreciated how hard they worked just to teach people. I worked with many different forms of content across many different media platforms, in addition to sitting in on some of the live classes they taught to groups. Because of all of this exposure to teaching, I learned a lot about how people respond differently to different types of education, whether that be a lecture, a conversation, or a debate.
The office in this job was bigger than my first one and felt more like a family; everyone was working hard, and this shared effort built tremendous office place comradery. I would hope for any place I work at in the future to have the level of efficiency, effort, and collegiality of this workplace.
Reflecting on my internships, I have grown into living in Israel and feel much more comfortable communicating in Hebrew, and being part of the everyday workforce has played a significant part in that. Adjusting to living in another country is a process, but it’s one I’ve enjoyed.