Hi everyone! My name is Avi Shapiro and I’m from Sacramento, California. I love living in Israel. At the end of Aardvark Israel, I will have spent close to two years of my life in Israel, and I’m only eighteen.
I chose Aardvark Israel after weeks of deliberation because I felt like it could give me the one thing I wanted this year: the ability to truly live in Israel. This might seem silly, because all Israel gap year programs have their students live in Israel. While this is true, none of the students on the other programs are given the same opportunities that we on Aardvark Israel are. Because of Aardvark Israel, I get to live independently, by living in an apartment, cooking my own food, and working at an internship where every day I get integrated more into Israeli society.
I live on Mizrachi Street, right off Levinsky Street, the main street in Florentin. A two-minute walk will take me to the center of Florentin, the hippest neighborhood in Tel Aviv. I have six roommates, and only Aardvark Israel gives me the ability to live with a Canadian, a Brit, and kids from all around the States. Only on Aardvark Israel do we have access to a full kitchen where we can cook together for group Shabbat meals. We eat together, sleep together, learn together, and grow together.
For my internship, I work for a lovely gentleman named Choni. Together, we run the company King George Lamps. We make custom-made lamps modeled after the street-sign lamps that are used in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and we sell to customers all around the world. I absolutely love my internship. It allows me to not only help jumpstart a company and help Choni with his business, but also allows me to learn the ins and outs of starting a company from the ground up. While most people go into their internships around ten o’clock and leave about three, I tend to stay until five or six most days because I really enjoy my time there. If you want to buy a lamp, head to www.thestreetlamp.com!
In all, I’d say Aardvark Israel has provided me with the opportunity to fully live in Israel, in a way far beyond all of my previous trips to Israel. I would absolutely recommend Aardvark Israel to someone who wants to have some time to explore who they are and get the opportunity to live by themselves before they do university or whatever else awaits them later in life.