Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Welcome to My Life

What's Lauren doing with a blog, you might ask? Well, considering I'm leaving August 25 for 10 months, I thought it might be a good idea to keep everyone updated on what I'm doing! Why am I starting it now? I'm trying to get in the habit of blogging now rather than trying to start while I'm gone. I've never had a great track record of keeping up with a journal or diary, so my goal is to actually keep this as updated as possible!

So - in a nutshell - here is a few bullet points of what I am up to currently:
-Working as the administrative assistant at Temple Akiba in Culver City, CA
-Spending Memorial Day Weekend in New York
-Preparing to spend 10 months in Israel...no big deal, right? WRONG.

Clearly, the fact that I'm moving to Israel at the end of August is pretty big. A lot of people have been asking me why, and what exactly I'm doing. Well, let me tell you all about it! After graduating Indiana University in May 2011, I honestly had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I spent a second summer at URJ Camp Kalsman in Arlington, WA as a counselor, and then came back to Los Angeles with no job or idea of what I wanted to do. I finally started working at my current job, but still felt like I needed more. I always had regretted not studying abroad during college, and knew of many post-college programs in Israel through MASA Israel, an organization that provides gap year, study abroad, post-college and volunteer programs in Israel. I looked through many programs, and applied to quite a few, but the one that stood out for me was Israel Teaching Fellows, through Ma'ase Olam. I'm going to try to do another post soon with more information about what I am doing, but as an overview, Ma'ase Olam is an organization that promotes projects focused on Israel's disadvantaged communities - and I will be participating in the Israel Teaching Fellows counterpart. Israel Teaching Fellows' main goal is to close the achievement gap in the Israeli education system. I will be volunteering as an English teacher's aide in the city of Rehovot, but this opportunity can be found in many other cities. I will be part of a group of 25 peers, and we will be living in the same house. 

I could go on and on about the program, but as it gets closer I will blog more and more (let's hope!) about this experience. I have only been to Israel once, through Birthright in 2009, so this is a completely new and different experience for me. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. I cannot wait to see old friends from camp who live in Israel, and cannot wait to meet the other fellows that I will be living with from August 26 to June 30. It's going to be a life-changing experience, and hopefully I will be able to share it with you all :)