What a crazy adventure this has been! I’ve been home for just 2 and ½ weeks and it feels like my trip happened months ago. That was the longest I’d ever been away from home, and I don’t think I’ll ever go away for that long again. Not that it wasn’t an amazing experience, because it was, but I just got so exhausted, mentally and physically, that the thought of doing that again drains me.
Here are some of my reflections back on the trip.
As far as my program goes, I have some mixed feelings, as I’m sure you’ve picked up on through reading this blog.
- I loved my internship. I seriously cannot think of a better internship that I could’ve had. I now have a much clearer understanding at what I like to do, professionally, and the type of relationship I should have with coworkers and superiors. I cannot thank my program enough for placing me with Debate/Vayomar and I recommend that other participants intern there. Such a great company.
- The program itself needs A LOT of work. Now that I am done with this program, I feel that I can finally share my full thoughts. I found the coordinators unprofessional at many times, and frankly, rude to me as well. I know it is difficult to plan things for large groups of people, because I’ve done it myself, but it cannot be that difficult to keep to schedules that you’ve set months in advance. The “enrichments” they planned for us 90% of the time were a huge waste – I don’t think I ever felt “enriched.” My apartment was completely unacceptable, for a variety of reasons. Maybe without the mold, spotty wifi, and tiny bathroom, it would have been a nice place for 2 people, but cramming in 4 girls was a huge mistake.
- The participants on this program were, for the most part, great. I made some amazing friends whom I know I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life, and I’m happy that the program was able to bring us together. However, I felt that there were times where some people, definitely not everyone, made it seem like I was back in high school, excluding me and making me feel unwanted. There were some cliques that definitely formed, understandably, and people that intentionally left out my friends and I, which to me is very immature. But despite the low points, I’m thankful for the lifelong friends that I have made who will be there for me long after the program finished.
- As much as I love it, I can never live in Israel. I’m so happy and fortunate to live in America, let me just tell you. Israelis, once you get to know them, are warm and welcoming and wonderful people to know. But the mentality that Israelis have is just too out of the norm for what I’m used to. People can be pushy A LOT, there is no sense of customer service, among many other things. I can go into more details, but I don’t want to bore you. So I will happily visit Israel in the future, but I think the longest amount of time I could spend there from now on would be a month, tops.
Thoughts on traveling alone/in Europe:
- I loved traveling alone. It was such a freeing experience! I could do whatever I wanted to do without really having to stick to a schedule. It was hard at times to get myself out of bed to do things, but I’m glad that I was able to take my own trip. Next time, I would NOT go after a long program, so that I would be able to go for a bit longer and have more energy throughout my time. I think an extra day in most of the cities I visited would have been perfect, just so I could go a little more leisurely and see a few more things. I also would pack lighter. I brought WAY too much stuff for just 3 weeks; so much that I didn’t need to do laundry. Completely ridiculous. I would also not travel in cold weather, so that packing lighter would be even easier.
- Overall, I would definitely travel alone again, but I think it would depend on the location. For instance, I’d feel fine going back to Europe or even to Australia alone, but I think that a trip to Asia or South America might be better with a friend.
So those are just a few of my final thoughts. Despite the hardships and annoying things, I’m so glad that I decided to go to Israel and do this program. I think it really helped me to get a new perspective on myself and the way I want to live my life. I feel more ready to take on the world, and I’m prepared to tackle whatever life throws my way next.
So now, I’m back at home, just waiting to see where life takes me. Maybe I’ll start this blog back up again on the next travel adventure I have, or maybe I’ll start a new one. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, which was really my digital journal. I’m so glad that I actually kept it up throughout my entire journey, because I’m sure it’ll be fun to come back and read this through one day in the future. I guess this is goodbye for now, my readers!
-Girl in Los Angeles 🙂