February 23, 2009 / 29 Shevat 5769
While many college graduates go straight into the workforce, Courtney Broad took her career path in a different direction: to Israel. For the past five months, Courtney's been learning Hebrew and interning at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. "I feel very proud of myself for being here," Courtney says. "A lot of my friends back home went straight into the work force but this is good for me. I am independent, happy and excited about doing all of this Israel."
Courtney's first encounter with Israel was through a birthright trip. Without a central Jewish school or synagogue in her life, Courtney first heard about birthright from her cousin. He explained that birthright is an amazing educational experience for young Jews in the States with limited exposure to Jewish life and without strong affiliations to a Jewish community. As Courtney recalls, "I was very glad I listened to him and signed up for birthright. He was right. I had an amazing experience and came to fall in love with Israel."
Following birthright, Courtney knew that she wanted to come back to Israel and "immerse herself in Israeli society". Her birthright counselor sent her information about the Career Israel Program and it presented her with the perfect opportunity: to live, work and experience the 'real' Israel. "My contact with Israelis through birthright was very limited – mostly with the soldiers or guides who accompanied our trip," explains Courtney. "The internship however, offered much greater exposure to everyday life in Israel. I encounter so many different people here through my job and they're all very friendly and nice."
Courtney made such a good impression during her internship that she was offered a full-time job at the hotel after the program finished. Now, she is excited about staying in Israel another year and is considering making aliyah. Her parents, still in the US, have recently visited and are very proud of Courtney's accomplishments. "They're still overprotective, but overall very supportive and very pro-Israel. And I'm still committed to staying here and open to what may happen for me here."