My name is Joshua Carr, I am 18 years old, from Manchester, England. I decided to take a gap year as I feel this is a great opportunity to grow as a person, learn how to become independent as well as take a year off between school and university. I also have a great passion for Israel and no better way to spend my year off than in Israel. I chose Aardvark due to the diversity of the programme, and the numerous opportunities it offers. I am currently living in Jerusalem and chose to live here because of the close proximity to all my friends in Yeshiva and Seminary. Another great practicality is that town is only a short bus ride away too, never short of a trip to Ben Yehuda or Emek Refaim! I am a part of the Core Aardvark Program which consists of various different activities from day to day. Every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday morning I go to my internship at the JVP Media Centre, near Gan HaPoamon. Fillip is a business company for nonprofessional crowd mediators allowing initiators to publish products and services as well as selling them for a fee. The Fillip journey only began in 2014, and as an intern, I work there to help them promote their newly-found business as well as helping mediate between workers. Another key part of the Core Program is the classes we take in the afternoons. There are several different classes on offer, all relating in one way or another to Israel. The three classes I partake in are Ulpan, Arab-Israeli conflict and Contemporary Israeli Politics. The Arab-Israeli conflict class is definitely my favourite class as I find it fascinating to learn about the conflict from both sides whilst gaining a deeper understanding to it. Every Tuesday we go on a Tiyul, an excursion somewhere in Israel. Whether it is a graffiti tour around Jerusalem or a trip to the Ma’arat Hamachpela in Hevron, to see where our forefathers and mothers are buried. Each evening the madrichim put on optional but fun activities for us to participate in, my most memorable one so far was boy’s night. We went to the park and made a BBQ and played basketball – top night! Overall, my most favourite part of my year off so far is undoubtedly my Simchat Torah experience in Tzfat. Coming from a religious background, I have always celebrated Simchat Torah, but never before like this. Many people from all different religious backgrounds and of all different ages were there, celebrating the finishing of the Torah reading before we started over again. Words cannot describe this experience. Here’s to the rest of an amazing year with Aardvark!