• Leigh L. – Bay Area, Summer 2019

    “It has been just over a year since I came back from my summer on Onward Israel’s program, and I can wholeheartedly say that it changed my life and my thoughts about my future career for the better. Not only was living with a diverse group of students from my program an enriching experience, but being an Israeli-American myself and sharing specific experiences, language, and culture with them was extremely special. On the internship front, I feel extremely fortunate to have found the perfect opportunity that both helped me grow professionally and allowed me to engage with Israelis in a meaningful way. I was a research assistant in Tel Aviv University’s Curiosity Lab, where I helped run a pilot study that involved using social robot teachers to teach Hebrew grammar to children of Tel Aviv University’s summer camp. My research with the professors and students in the Curiosity lab and our interdisciplinary partners in the Hebrew Language department has continued to this day and we are proud to be writing and publishing papers to academic journals in multiple fields. Being part of this experience has strengthened my research skills, helped me become a published author, increased my knowledge of the Hebrew language, and increased my interests in pursuing social robotic research or industry in my future. At the end of the program, many of the program attendees were thinking of ways to “say goodbye” to Israel through food, adventure, and experience. After completing the program, I felt confident that I would not need to “say goodbye” because I knew that the experience had opened up Israel in new ways that  having family in the region could not provide. I know I will be back soon, and for that I am eternally grateful!”