A Gap Year Abroad with Career Israel – Frankie Haubrich


Meet Frankie Haubrich, 23, from Sydney, Australia. Frankie chose to spend his gap year with Career Internship program in Israel, want to find out why? Here is his story.

I departed from Sydney to Tel Aviv on Australia Day, 26 January 2016. Twenty two days before this, I had landed in Sydney after going to Israel on Birthright program. One week before going on Birthright I learned about Masa Israel programs. A day after that I started applying for an internship program in Tel Aviv with Career Israel. Six months before this I learnt that the paying a deposit to go to Israel on a 10 day trip completely (almost) free was not a scam.

Two years before this I learnt that I was Jewish. There are about 50,000 Jews in Sydney, 99% of them live in the Eastern Suburbs, an hour away from where I grew up. Till the age of 16, I thought Judaism was only a religion. So if someone told me I was Jewish (which my mum and sister had), Christian, Scientologist, Muslim, Mormon or Merman, my answer was ‘no I’m not, mum I’m going to the beach’.

After a few years of harassment from my friends I finally accepted there was a difference, but it wasn’t till I took part in ‘go to Israel for free trips because your mum’s a Jew’, that it’s became a significant part of my life and everyone knew about it. While a trip to Israel is significant, when people ask me if I feel different, like I belong to Israel, I say no. I’m not here to explore my Judaism, it’s for other reasons.

I discovered Career Israel at a time in my life when I had been out of university for a gap year, was unsure what I wanted to do with my degree, and, I was bored.

Career Israel was the perfect solution to my problems.

  • I desperately wanted to live for a long time in a country that is very different from Australia.
  • I always wanted to learn another language but would never commit to any, because I didn’t have a real reason.
  • I wanted a professional experience, but a combination of lacking motivation and options kept me working in casual jobs.

Back to the present: Career Israel internship program in Tel Aviv has the perfect balance for me.

  • Career internship program in Israel is long enough – you don’t just pop into the Middle East to say hi.
  • Career Israel has the perfect amount of trips around Israel – enough to get out and have a break from the city, but not so many that you feel like you’re on a tour.
  • Career Israel has 2 weeks intensive Ulpan course – very important for me as I had ZERO Jewish education.
  • Career Israel has housing in the most amazing location imaginable – hot tip: choose Allenby apartments over Beit Leni dorms.
  • The silver lining that made all of this so appealing was the price – after the Masa Israel grant for Career Israel program, it is extremely affordable compared to life in Sydney.

Right now I’m exactly half way through Career program in Israel. In the last week I’ve had two nightmares about the same thing – I’m back in Australia, I’ve forgotten all the Hebrew I’ve learnt, all the half crystallized experiences have vanished and I’m back to my old self doing the same thing. What’s important to realize is that I love Australia, I really do. It’s a social, care free, happy place. But right now that doesn’t matter. I need independence, purpose and change from the things that I take for granted.

Recently I had a group dinner (organized by Masa Israel i.e. free dinner) with a a dread locked, Doc Marten’s clad Rabbi from Brooklyn, who said something that really struck me – “Here you are forced to be in the present”. I’ve given this idea some thought.

Frankie pic

In Sydney I could walk down the street without anything to worry about at all, and as a result I was zoned out from the world around me. You may have noticed that there’s a lot going on here, and I think it’s created a completely new frame of mind  –  where I am engaged and focused on what I’m doing all the time. Either someone’s spiking my hummus* with the latest smart drug, or the atmosphere of the city has changed me. I feel like the improved version of myself that I’ve been searching for, since that time the sniveling college snob beat me in a micro economics exam at UNI – that’s how we call University in ‘Straya.

An important thing to mention is how easy it is living with a group of people in the same situation as you. Everyone knows that travelling for extended periods such as gap years, can be tiring and at times very lonely. I live in an apartment block with 5 house mates, and another 30 friends from Career Israel in the same building. You will never get lonely. You will never have to deal with culture shock on alone (if you don’t want to). You will always have support from people in the exact same situation as you. You will always have people to go out with to the beach, clubs, markets, day trips, double dates, Shabbat dinners, Hebrew study sessions, political debates, play ‘would you rather’ with, argue with taxi drivers, borrow butter from.

I’ll end on my internship in Israel. It’s amazing. I work at a startup. I was warned that the line between a friend and a colleague is less prominent here. I was not warned that this means I can tell my boss in detail what I did on the weekend, watch episodes of Silicon Valley when we are working at his house and get invited to his wedding. I can only speak for myself, but the work is very varied and it’s completely up to me how much I want to contribute and achieve. From the minute I started I Career Israel program, I was given the opportunity to do work that properly affected the whole business, and as time goes on my duties only get more and more significant.

Come to Israel.

*I now eat hummus for lunch and dinner every second day.

 Frankie pic 2

Career Israel program, by Israel Experience

Career Israel program is a summer and five-month professional internship abroad program open to Jewish college/university graduates from all over the world. The program provides internship placements in leading companies and organizations in the private and public sectors in Israel in every field including law, medicine, media, economics, politics, public relations, education, social work, engineering, computer science, advertising, business and more. The program also includes accommodations, a Hebrew study program, tours and extracurricular enrichment activities.

On top of all that, you get to choose where to have your internship in Israel: Haifa, Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

A professional internship abroad is an impressive and prestigious addition to your resume and will enhance your future career development.

Have any questions?  Need more info? Check in

Masa Israel Grants – Internship Programs Abroad

Masa Israel Journey offers young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 immersive, life-changing gap year, study abroad, post-college and volunteer experiences in Israel, connecting them to programs that meet their interests, offering scholarships, providing expertise, and supporting them throughout the entire process.

Masa Israel is a joint project of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel that is made possible by the generous contributions of the Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod-UIA.

Masa Israel provides universal grants and needs-based scholarships to eligible Career Israel participants.




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