My name is Maya and I’m from São Paulo, Brazil. I am currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A few years ago, back in 2020, I did Aardvark Israel and it was the best experience of my life. I lived in Tel Aviv in an apartment with 4 other girls that are now my best friends.
I chose to go on a gap year because I needed to find myself and who I was, especially as a Jewish girl and Aardvark was my first choice. The program offered everything I was looking for in a gap year program, Hebrew lessons, volunteering where I could choose where to work based on the things I like the most, meeting people from all around the world, get to know Israel – which was really important to me because I had never been to it, and I even got the chance to work in the Magen David Adom.
I am currently studying psychology and in the future, I hope to specialize in neuropsychology. Aardvark and this whole experience were so important to me because I learned that my greatest passion is to connect with other people, especially in the health industry. I worked for 5 months in Magen David Adom, as a First Aid Paramedic and I volunteered at a vegan restaurant called Goodness where I still keep in touch with my bosses, who are very special to me.
Besides all that, Aardvark helped me create a special bond with Israel, teaching me the history of the country, learning Hebrew, and meeting people who live there. It also helped me connect with my Jewish roots. For me, one of the best moments of the week was gathering my friends at home on Friday for Shabbat, where we used to pray and have dinners all together and then talk about how our week was.
I always talk about this experience with a lot of love and I’m sure it’s something I’ll never forget. Of course, I was very scared before going because I’ve never lived alone, and traveling to a place you’ve never been before is something really scary, but Aardvark gave me all the support and I felt that I matured a lot as a person.