Spotlight on Students
Student of the Week – Ian Kanev
Hi! My name is Ian Kanev and I am from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts! I am currently living it up in the most hipster neighborhood of Florentin, Tel Aviv, whilst on the Fall Semester of Aardvark Israel.
Before coming on Aardvark Israel, I had never been to Israel before; I had never even lived away from home. The first week and a half or so were very difficult for me, being away from my friends and family. One month in, my mindset has completely changed, I’ve made new friends, not only within Aardvark, but with Israelis I’ve met along the way.
This first month of living in Israel has been a surreal experience. From the first moment of getting off the plane at Ben-Gurion Airport to now. There aren’t words to describe the feeling after sitting on a plane for nearly 11 hours and ending up in a completely different world where everything is suddenly in Hebrew. It is truly an individual experience, and one that every Jewish person should strive to do at least once in their life.
For anyone that is considering coming on this program, the most important piece of advice I think I could give you is to go out, all the time. Get out of your apartment, talk to people, and socialize with the locals. I’ve found that Israelis are a very easy-going people, and most of them will be open to having any kind of conversation, political debates are particularly fun. They’re also very honest, so if you’re trying to learn Hebrew like I am, have no doubts that they will correct your grammar.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have an open mind when coming on this program. Early on, I wasn’t all that excited about my internship, but with time, I’ve grown to love it so much. Over a month, I’ve made such great connections with the people I work with. I went to one of my coworkers’ houses for my first real Rosh Hashanah and had so much fun meeting her family and experiencing the traditions for the first time in Israel! I consider my boss, and everyone else I work with as my friends. I felt so welcomed at the beginning and now I really feel like a part of the family.
Despite the difficult start, I think that coming to Israel could end up being one of the best decisions I could’ve made, and that the things I learn in the next three months will continue to help me for the rest of my life. What bad could possibly come out of gaining valuable work experience, learning another language, and figuring out how to live without parental support, right?!