Who knew two months could feel like two seconds.
Sitting at my desk at Hibob’s Tel Aviv office, my looming departure from Israel hangs heavily over my head, prompting me to reflect on my summer experience. From living in hipster-capital Florentin, to touring Israel’s beautiful and diverse landscapes, to meeting wonderful people from TAMID, every day has been a unique adventure that has augmented my love and appreciation for Israel. Although each day has been different, the breadth and depth of my experiences interning for Hibob have remained constant, affording me the opportunity to work on meaningful projects and develop valuable professional skills.
My Introduction to Hibob
Aside from my interview, my first introduction to Hibob’s unparalleled, lively culture was on April 4th, via an email chain regarding the office’s dress code. Given the laid-back nature of Israeli corporate culture, as well as the traditionally casual nature of American start-ups, I thought I could maybe get away with wearing a button-down shirt and khakis to work each day. I felt quite ridiculous when the response to my question explained most people wore a t-shirt, jeans, and sandals. Although I hadn’t even boarded my flight to Israel, I felt as if I had received my first taste of the Israeli start-up culture.
I landed in Israel on the early morning of June 11th, very much feeling like a tourist. My complete inability to speak Hebrew was the first cause of concern, as I had little confidence my taxi driver understood my final destination from Ben Gurion Airport. Although the erratic driving, sweltering heat, and inaudible mumblings did nothing to ease my confidence that I wouldn’t end up in the wrong city — or even country — I made it safely to Tel Aviv and moved into my apartment soon thereafter. My summer had begun.
Starting At Hibob
My first few days in Israel consisted of programming and trips that focused on acclimating the TAMID fellows to Israel and to each other. On the morning of June 16th, the first day of my internship, I woke up, showered, and boarded the bus two hours before I was expected at work (given I had little confidence in my ability to navigate the bus system effectively). Surprisingly, Google Maps was quite intuitive, and I found myself painfully early to my office’s neighborhood. To waste time and arrive to work at a more appropriate hour, I sat down in a nearby coffee shop, where the Russian owner, whose broken English made it nearly impossible to communicate with, bought me an espresso and asked me questions about my expectations for my summer. We talked about his life, how he came to Israel, as well as his vision and plans for the future. As the conversation progressed, I thought about my goals in life, what career path I would like to have, and where I saw myself in ten years. While a bit abstract, it was the perfect segue into my first day at Hibob, allowing me to identify my goals for the summer: to develop professionally and gain meaningful experience I could apply both in school and in future endeavors.
Truthfully, I did not know what to expect upon arrival at Hibob’s office on 3 Soncino Street. Using the email I had received (giving me the door code and the WiFi password), I ventured upstairs and into the office, where I immediately was taken aback by the office’s chic décor; the slate-gray concrete floors and metallic matte-black accent pieces seemed like something straight of out SoHo in Manhattan rather than central Tel Aviv. In retrospect, the unique decoration of the office was the perfect introduction to my internship at Hibob: modern, fresh, and fast-paced.
What I’ve Learned
At Hibob, my experience has been great because of the engaging, meaningful work I complete on a daily basis, as well as my friendly and interesting colleagues. The diversity and breadth of the assignments I have received are truly what has distinguished my internship from others; ranging from in-depth competitive analyses to writing client-facing content, I have always felt that my work is valued and utilized by the company. Moreover, every assignment has served a unique purpose in my professional development, allowing me to hone my writing and analytical skills. Working for a company whose product aims to help other companies engage, manage, and retain their employees, I consistently felt as if Hibob knew exactly what I wanted to take away from my summer internship. Furthermore, the company culture, cultivated through various celebrations, inclusive lunches, and department-wide social events, was indicative of the progressive and exciting workplace I have been so fortunate to work in.
My experience living and working in Tel Aviv has exceeded expectations in every way imaginable. The city is wonderful and vibrant, the natural beauty of Israel is unrivaled, the TAMID program has been outstanding, and most importantly, my internship at Hibob has been informative, educational, and engaging. While honing my tools for future professional endeavors, I was able to work for a company at the forefront of a burgeoning industry — in the start-up capital of the world. I could not have asked for a better summer experience; I am truly fortunate to have been given this opportunity and I know I will cherish it for the rest of my life.