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Onward Israel: premier summer internship programs

May 20, 2024 129 Time to read: 7 min.

Onward Israel is a program for young people from around the world to experience Israel and gain a better understanding of the local job market. Each itinerary provides participants with housing in the city where it takes place. However, it may not be a city, yet a small location. In either case, housing will be in close proximity to the program site. It should be noted that in most cases it is small condos and apartments. Or even hotels.

The cost of the course is 50-100 US dollars, which is quite nice. That price includes housing, insurance, food and transportation. Read on and we’ll break down what the whole program is all about. We will also tell you what you need to do to participate.

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    Types of internship opportunities (course tracks)

    Onward Israel has two options: one for volunteers and one for those seeking professional development.

    One (first) is $50 (airfare included) and includes accommodation in central Israel, a volunteering and educational curriculum, and basic medical coverage.

    What is the purpose of the program?

    To help the needy and victims in the war zone. Mainly. You will be required to work in the border areas and do packing activities under the auspices of HaShomer HaChadash and Leket Israel. The syllabus also includes first aid training. Mostly tactical – aimed at dealing with the aftermath of shrapnel and gunshot wounds.

    The next opportunity to participate is on these dates:

    • 06.24 – 10.07.24
    • 07.24 – 24.07.24
    • 08.24 – 28.08.24
    • 08.24 – 02.09.24
    The cost is higher for the second one. And it is twice as much – 100 US dollars. You will also have to pay for the airfare. It includes a Hebrew course (it is intensive and therefore optional – in some cases can be skipped)

    The agenda is based on an assessment of the prospects of the profession in the Israeli market, with the help of local mentors who will guide and train the students. There will also be an opportunity to attend thematic development lectures of interest.

    What will these lectures be about?

    Well, like how to write a good resume. They will also teach you how to pass a local interview – you will find out what to say and where it is better to just remain quiet. Finally, some multiculturalism ideas will be instilled: the teachers will explain in depth how to approach people in the Israeli community.

    The next time to enroll:

    • 07.24 – 08.08.24
    • 07.24 – 22.08.24

    Pros of joining

    Let’s start with the obvious. To participate in something like this is to discover something new. A completely unique and unrepeatable experience. In addition to practically skills, you can even relax here, because you get two weekends a week – no one will interfere with this time to get acquainted with Israeli culture, as well as make new acquaintances.

    And you know, making new acquaintances is always cool. And it’s even cooler when your new acquaintances can help you in your future employment. We’re not talking about corruption right now.

    No, of course not. But it is definitely nice when a mentor, whose assignments you have diligently completed throughout the course, can recommend you to a top-tier Israeli company. Also, all Onward programs are run by different organizers, who undergo a rigorous selection process. All of them, of course, meet the strict and clear criteria of their specialties, so a great time is assured.

    Finally, we’d just like to add that for the price of $50-100, it’s an incredibly cool option. You will be able to learn and help other people in a comfortable environment (in addition to food and medical assistance, which we have already mentioned, the organizers also offer mammads on the territory of the accommodation – personal concrete shelters, which certainly will not be superfluous in our hard times).

    Duration and timing

    The duration varies, but is usually two to eight weeks. Eight is the most common – kind of a gold standard. Sometimes, Onward last as long as ten weeks, yet this is quite rare.

    Application requirements

    To be eligible for this very trip, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • Be between the ages of 19 and 32 (inclusive);
    • Have completed at least one full year of post-secondary education;
    • Identify as a person of Jewish descent;
    • Have not spent three or more consecutive months in Israel as part of an educational or exchange program, including: semester abroad, gap year, MASA, or other;
    • Onward Israel programs are generally not eligible for a second experience. However, we note that graduates (if they did not participate in a local internship) may be considered for a future program – but only for the missed internship
    • Be completely fluent in English;
    • Possess a valid passport with an expiration date at least six months after the end of the curriculum.

    Step-by-Step application process

    Let’s take a look at the registration process:

    • First, you need to go to the official website;
    • Second, you need to enter the zip code and select a college from the general list;
    • Third, you need to answer whether you are interested in taking a Hebrew-centered course;
    • Fourth, click on “Find My Programs” and the system will give you a list of all available.
    For more information, you can email info@birthrightisraelonward.com with any questions you may have. You can also address to volunteer@onwardisrael.org with inquiries about enlisting.

    Contacts

    For general questions, please use the address above. You can expect a response Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. The organization does not operate on Jewish and U.S. federal holidays – there is no point in waiting for a response during these times. However, there are other ways to communicate. For example, by phone.

    You can call 1-646-453-2016 on the same schedule.

    The point is that you may get a faster response by phone than by email, but it may be less detailed and comprehensive. By the way, we should not forget about the existence of the emergency line. It is intended only for urgent and existential issues, for people who are already in Israel. And when we say “urgent and existential”, this is what we mean. You can only communicate through it if, for example, there are compelling medical reasons. Or if there’s an extremely unpleasant event, like the death of one of the participants.

    Anything else, including *major* medical, housing, internship, or other problems, should be addressed to the local program staff (participants will be given contact information for them at the beginning of the tour). They are best equipped to deal with the here and now. Emergency phone: 1-718-551-3985

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