Minna Swindon

Programme: Destination Israel – Hotel & Tourism Internship
Duration: 5 months
Accommodation: Eilat

In December 2014 I decided I wanted a change. I wanted to do something I loved in a place I loved; Israel.

I had heard about Masa Israel projects in Israel so I searched it online. I was a bit nervous as I had an extremely good job and didn’t want to give it up in case I didn’t enjoy my experience. Nevertheless, I continued my application for Destination Israel Eilat Hotel & Tourism Internship. I got a response within a few days and before I knew it I was accepted into the programme and was completing the application. Nervous and excited, I began to tell my friends what I would be doing; Living and working in Eilat for 5 months. Finally my plans were coming together and before I knew it was on the plane to Tel Aviv where I would be meeting my new “family” for the next 5 months.

Being in Israel alone is not only nerve-racking but you also feel a sense of community as soon as you step off the plane. I made my way to the location where we needed to meet. My coordinator was waiting in the entrance with a big smile: “Minna, Welcome!”, he said. This was it. I met my new family and instantly we became one big group. Travelling from the north of Israel down to the south to our final location, Eilat.

Everyone was excited to start work. We were shown around and introduced to our managers. We were made to feel extremely welcome. The benefits were all fully explained and some of these included, free transport, free health insurance, free accommodation, free food every day for 3 meals a day, discounts in many places and also small benefits such as a free pool and gym in our apartments. Luxurious, some would say.

Now working in the hotels, everyone made their own groups of friends at work but we were still a family and did weekly events together such as Ulpan, enrichments and also trips all over Israel. These included Jerusalem, En Gedi and the Dead Sea.

Living and working in Eilat made me realise that I don’t want to go home. I want to be here forever. Learning the language weekly was helpful and using it at work made me learn more.

I wanted to be an Israeli citizen.

I spoke with my hotel and they offered me a position after I finished the programme. They were extremely helpful and guided me through the processes.

Here I am now. Living and working in Eilat. Enjoying every single day of it. I made Aliyah and now I am an Israeli citizen. Never been so happy and I am so grateful for Masa Israel and Destination Israel for their help, guidance and support throughout the whole process from before the programme until today. Continuous support from all of the team is a great bonus because they become your family.

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