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Working Girl

By Maya

One of my hardest transitions was getting used to office life in a foreign country. As part of my program, I had to find an internship to work at while in Tel Aviv. After researching a few different companies, I chose to work at Sonovia. Sonovia is a high-tech startup whose main mission is to create technology and build machines that help get pollutants out of textiles, thereby making clothing more eco-friendly. Their vision was in line with my environmental ideals so I thought it would be special to work with them.

I have now been at Sonovia for 2 months and am very happy with my choice. Unlike the experience of many interns at American companies, what I have noticed in Israel is that they throw interns right into the thick of things. Within the first week, I was already meeting with the CEO and giving presentations to potential investors. As a result of this, I have gained an incredible amount of experience and continue to learn more every day.

I have a wide range of tasks, but my usual jobs consist of reaching out and meeting with investors, editing the website, carrying out research, doing customer service, and more. While I conduct most of my work in English, I speak to my bosses and coworkers mainly in Hebrew; this new experience of navigating a bilingual workplace has improved my Hebrew skills greatly. Despite the large amount of work, the company does a good job of making their employees have fun working there too. For example, every Thursday there is happy hour after work and during the High Holiday season, they held a Rosh Hashana party full of cakes, wine, and gifts.

I have really been enjoying the working life and am grateful for the opportunity to get such a valuable experience.

Exploring All New Places

By Maya

The past month has been full of non-stop activity. I find myself having five places to be and twenty things to do at any given moment. And while that may sound stressful and hard to manage, it has actually led to me having the most incredible first month in Israel.

This month has been packed with introductions. I met 200 new people, visited five different cities, started interning at a high-tech company, and learned how to navigate Tel Aviv’s confusing public transportation system. 

But despite the chaos, what I have really appreciated about this month was how much time I spent exploring new locations in my neighborhood of Tel Aviv. Even just within the first week of living here, I went to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, walked through Shuk HaCarmel (the local market), took a surfing lesson at the beach, went on a boat ride in Jaffa, and found my favorite shawarma (a Middle Eastern dish) restaurant.

As amazing as Tel Aviv has been, it was also so exciting to travel to other locations in Israel because each place had something distinct to offer. In Jerusalem, I went on a tour of the Old City to learn about its unique significance to different religions and witnessed the emotional and intense Jewish prayers of Selichot at the Western Wall. In Haifa, I walked around the Bahai Gardens and visited a mosque to speak with an Ahmadi Muslim about his practices and beliefs. In Beit Shemesh, I hiked to a bat cave and then stopped by the Biblical Natural History Museum to learn about important animals from the time of the Bible.

I have so much left to uncover, but I slowly making my way through this magnificent city and spectacular country.