The Israel Project
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Caroline Dorf

Major: Global and International Studies, Studio Art
Minor: Political Science
Hometown: Garnet Valley, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

The program that I participated in, Onward Israel, is structured for students who have had a prior short term experience in Israel and are looking to return for a substantial period of time. I learned about the program after having traveled to Israel during winter 2016. From there I looked on the program website and determined which program would best fit me.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

During my time abroad in Israel, I worked Monday-Thursday every week in the Israeli Headquarters for The Israel Project. For the first part of the summer, I worked under the Communications team and during the second part of the summer, I worked under the Research team. When I was not working I was able to travel around Jerusalem and Israel to learn more about the people and the culture. In terms of my living accommodation, I lived in an apartment building with the other 30 members of my program who all had different internships around Jerusalem. One day a week the program would provide an excursion where we could travel somewhere in Israel and learn about some of the topics and issues facing the country such as gender and sexuality, race, religion, etc.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, I was able to learn an incredible amount about the Middle East and the complexity of the region. Specifically, I spent my day to day in my internship focusing on the Israel-Palestine conflict and now feel very confident in my basic knowledge on the topic. In my internship, I was able to do hands on research and work with a team of 4 other interns working directly under the heads of each department. As many of my classes at Penn State have been political science classes, I felt that this was the first time I was able to see first-hand the applications of these classes in action. Additionally, the experience of being fully immersed in a different culture and society was extremely enlightening and educational.

I was able to do hands on research and work with a team of 4 other interns working directly under the heads of each department.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After I graduate, I hope to work abroad as a volunteer or on a service program. From there I would like to work with an NGO or in the international department of a company. Being able to live and work abroad for the summer gave me the confidence to pursue this goal as I know that I can be successful in living and working in a different country and culture than my own. Also, I learned a lot about the Bedouin population while living in Israel and if I ever return to Israel to work I would like to work with an NGO that helps the Bedouin population.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to a Liberal Arts student looking to have an abroad experience outside of Europe. What is really amazing about Israel is that while there is a lot of Western influence, it is very distinctly in the Middle East in regards to the culture, language, and people. Additionally, I feel that the internship opportunities offered to me and my fellow program participants were broader and overall better than what we could have found in the states for our level of education and experience.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

I was influenced to pursue this program in order to fulfill the Paterno Fellows Study Abroad/Internship requirement. I would not have been able to take part in this experience if it were not for the funding I received for this as a Paterno Fellow from Liberal Arts Enrichment Funding. The Paterno Fellows Program was great in encouraging and supporting me to pursue this opportunity and allowing me to feel that here were resources available to me.


For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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