I’m thrilled to be sharing this interview with summer 2013 C.I.T.’s Naomi and Alexandra today, about their upcoming participation in NFTY’s Eisendrath International Exchange program (E.I.E.) At the end of January, Naomi and Alexandra will be spending their semester learning and living in various parts of Israel. Below you’ll find out what they’re most excited for, how the lessons they learned at camp will influence their experience and more!
– Can’t wait to hear updates about our participants from Israel!
How did you become friends at camp?
Naomi: “I became friends with Alexandra my first year at camp in 2007 when we were in the same cabin together. For the past 8 years I have considered Alexandra to be one of my closest friends and we have shared so many memories together that I can no longer remember how we became so close!”
Alexandra: “Naomi and I met eight years ago, during her first summer at camp (it was my second summer.) We have been friends ever since!!”
How did you hear about EIE/ what made you want to participate?
Naomi: “I heard about E.I.E. through a presentation at camp when I was in younger Barak (going into grade 9). What made me want to participate in E.I.E. was that it is a very unique program and I think that going with a group of Jewish teenagers will really help me build a connection to Israel. Also knowing alumni that went on E.I.E. made me want to go even more because they could only say good things about the program.”
Alexandra: “I heard about E.I.E. through Camp. During both my Barack and CIT summers a representative from EIE came to Speak with campers about this amazing opportunity to spend a high school semester in Israel and get full high school credits for it. The idea of this always stuck in the back of my mind but it was not until this past summer speaking with past E.I.E. students that I really started to consider going!”
Did you decide to go together?
Naomi: “Ever since I learned about E.I.E., I had always been interested in going on it. During the year, Alexandra told me that she was interested on going on E.I.E. as well. Since Alexandra told me she was considering going, I told her that I was going to apply to E.I.E. after camp and see if I got in. At this point in time I was very set on going on E.I.E. and after talking with Alexandra she told me that she was going to apply as well! So originally we did not decide to go on E.I.E. together but I’m very happy that Alexandra decided to go to Israel with me.”
Alexandra: “This past summer both Naomi and I were strongly considering participating in E.I.E. but of course we needed to talk to our parents about this. After camp when I found out she was for sure applying for E.I.E. made me really want to experience Israel with her in an unbelievable environment! We did not plan to go together but I am so excited that we will be there together and she definitely influenced my decision for the best!”
What are you most excited for? Most nervous about?
Naomi: “One thing that I’m really excited about is getting to be completely immersed in Israeli culture for an entire semester and getting to meet all these different people from different parts of the United States and Israel. As of right now I’m not nervous about anything just because I know I’ll have an amazing experience.”
Alexandra: “Having never been to Israel before I am excited to experience everything the country has to offer! In Hebrew school and camp we learn all about this country so to actually visit sites I have learned about is really cool! I am also excited to meet the other 80 kids from all over the U.S that will be participating on E.I.E. with me! I am nervous to be away from home for four months but I know my friends and family are only a Skype call away!”
How do you think skills/ experiences from camp will influence your experience?
Naomi: “Growing up at camp will for sure help me when I’m on EIE. Camp has taught me a variety of skills, varying from how to connect and build friendships with people, to becoming a more independent person. I think that transferring these skills to E.I.E. will be very helpful when it comes to living with a roommate and keeping up with my schoolwork. Also camp has made me very adaptable and since I’ll be living in a very different lifestyle than home it will help a lot.”
Alexandra: “Camp has taught me the life skill of living with a large group of cabin mates and learning to love each one of them including the mess they bring into the cabin! This skill will come in handy when living on Kibbutz Tzuba where I will live in a room with four girls who I have never met before!”
Favourite Israeli food that you can’t wait to have in Israel?
Naomi: “I don’t have a specific favourite Israeli food but I am very open to trying any kind of food there!”
Alexandra: “Everyone talks about how different and fresh falafels are in Israel than Canada so I am most excited to taste an Israeli falafel.”
Place you’re most excited to visit?
Naomi: “I’m really looking forward to going to the beaches in Israel!”
Alexandra: “I am just excited to see everything for the very first time! Everything is going to be a new experience so I am excited to take in what each place has to offer!”