Shalom! My name is Nate Kingdom and I’m from Denver, Colorado. I have been spending my fall semester in Tel Aviv, living on Nahalat Binyamin! I was planning on going to CU Boulder this semester, but in the world we live in right now that changed. I was always considering taking a gap year, but COVID just gave me the extra push. I could not be happier with the choice I made in taking a gap year. Additionally, I knew I really wanted to get to Israel!
I found out about Aardvark Israel through a friend, a friend who also is on Aardvark Israel this semester. I felt that Aardvark Israel was a great fit for me, and I couldn’t be happier where I am. All the staff is amazing and super helpful. The activities are great! I love being in this country with the resources that Aardvark Israel gives me. Traveling, food, events, etc…it’s just a great place to be.
As the past three months have passed, I have grown more as a person than I even realize. I have found a connection to a different side of my Jewish culture, not through a religion, but through a community and its people. I have also enjoyed some amazing friendships, mentorships, and experiences that have changed my life.
The greatest thing that has happened to me so far is my internship here. I have been working at Studio ב (bet), which is a tiny little pottery studio located in Florentine. I help in the studio, wedging clay, working with the kiln, and of course, making pottery. This studio has taught me so much about art, creativity, and passion.
One thing that being in Tel Aviv has made me so excited for is my spring semester in Jerusalem. Tel Aviv is an incredibly fun, hip city with parts that are indescribable. Although Jerusalem is considered a more religious place, there is so much more to be discovered there than religion. Just like in all cities, you can find all walks of life, and for that I couldn’t be more grateful.
If someone were to come to me and ask just for one piece of advice before they started their gap year in Israel, I would tell them to have an open mind and to be excited for the changes, the possibilities, and the hardships that will be faced. But most importantly, to be excited for the joy, the happiness, the crazy adventures you’ll go on, and everything in between.