Hi! My name is Abby Hockstein and I’m from Closter, NJ. After my gap year I will be attending Tulane University in New Orleans. Coming from a school where almost everyone goes straight to college, I never really considered taking a gap year. It was actually my parents (who both took gap years in Israel) who convinced me to take a year off. Less than a week into Aardvark, I realized that I made the right decision.
After looking into a bunch of gap year programs, Aardvark was the only one I seriously considered. What drew me to the program was the emphasis on immersion into Israeli culture. We live in one of the coolest neighborhoods in Tel Aviv, Florentin, and actually get to ‘live like locals’. My mom’s side of the family is Israeli, so I always felt a strong connection to Israel, but actually living here and being immersed in the culture has made this connection so much stronger.
Now that I’ve been on Aardvark for over 2 months, I could not be happier with my decision. Living in Tel Aviv is such a unique opportunity, and I’ve met so many amazing people from all over the world! I already know that the friendships I’ve made here will last forever. There’s always something to do in Tel Aviv, and Aardvark encourages us to experience everything the city has to offer.
Four days a week, I volunteer at an animal shelter. At the shelter, I walk the dogs and socialize them to give them some time out of their kennels. Working there is the perfect job for me and I look forward to work every day! One of my favorite parts of Aardvark is the tiyulim (trips) every Tuesday. Each week we go somewhere new and interesting, and it’s so cool to see parts of Israel that are ‘off the beaten path’.
Taking a gap year before college was the best decision I’ve ever made. Less than halfway through the year, I already feel so much more independent and prepared for college. I could not be happier to be on Aardvark, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store!