gap year in israel

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My name is Eytan Fainman and I am from Johannesburg South Africa!

For most of my life, I have had a desire to one day reside and work in Israel. However, how and when I was going to achieve my longing desire was always unknown. Choosing to spend my spring semester in Tel Aviv was a no-brainer; simply because it is one of the few major cities in Israel that I have explored. I thought living and working in an environment – which to a large extent differs in almost every aspect to the way of life I am accustomed to – would challenge me.

Although studying Business and Economics at IDC Herzliya seems like a real possibility at this stage, going to the IDF after Aardvark may happen too. Hence, I felt coming on Aardvark would lay a foundation on which I would later base my decisions.

I am currently interning at a data analytics firm called Intlock. In brief, Intlock provides a product called CardioLog Analytics, which helps businesses utilize, customize and access insights and analytics of Office 365 and Sharepoint. My role at Intlock is concerned with, but not limited to, social media marketing, working with data analytics and account based marketing. In addition to my internship, I do an Entrepreneurship Add-On, which focuses on marketing, innovation and the importance of building and setting up networks. In a span of only two months, I have attended the GSC (Global Start-up Competition) at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (it is an innovation festival where corporations and start-ups meet up to address significant technological challenges. It is Israel’s largest and most recognized start-up competition) and the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit in Jerusalem (one of the fastest-growing technology summits in the world). Furthermore, I have met and obtained vital advice from social media influencers (like Idan Mat), innovative tech start-ups (like Restar) and more. Given the fact that entrepreneurship is the field that I would like to go into, I feel as though participating in this Add-On has been enormously beneficial and helpful on many levels.

I came to Aardvark Israel expecting to get some valuable work experience at my internship, attain university credits for the mandatory and non-mandatory classes and broaden my social network. I have come to realize that Aardvark has a lot more to offer in terms of encouraging independence and self-reliability amongst chanichim/alumni. Aardvark has created a space conducive to its participants to undergo personal growth and maturity – which is rare to find in gap year programs. The way in which I have grown, matured and improved as an individual has not only surprised me but has been the highlight of the trip thus far. Rather than seeing waking up early each morning for my classes, internship or tiyul as a burden – I now look at it from a different perspective. Each day is a blessing because it always presents a different challenge – a window of opportunity to exploit and conquer.

In just 51 days, I have met and bonded with a variety of people from different backgrounds, cultures and countries; and I can confidently say that these friendships will last for a very long time. From attending intriguing classes of our choice and participating in activities, hanging out with friends and exploring the beautiful land of Israel, Aardvark has it all!!

I can’t wait to continue making the most of every opportunity that presents itself and seize the moment – Carpe Diem!

Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael