The music of Omer Adam grew louder as we rode the elevator to the fourth floor of Boston University Hillel. As we stepped out, we could feel the excitement of students anticipating their summer experiences in Israel. The energy was contagious.

Our nervous anticipation was soon replaced with sheer excitement. We checked in with past Onward participants, and I saw my friend from high school; she had been raving about her time in Tel Aviv only a few hours prior! The tables were covered with Israeli flags and stickers, and we joined a table with our full plates of Israeli salad, pita, hummus and fresh veggies.

As I sat down with my fellow Brown students, we were joined by Onward participants from Northeastern, Brandeis and Tufts. I met students participating in the Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa programs, and I even began planning a possible meet-up for the week before the start of the program. Everyone I spoke with eagerly described their impressive summer internships; I heard about an engineering internship I could barely comprehend, a pre-medical student working as an EMT for Magen David Adom, and a student interning at a public health start-up. I was just as excited to tell everyone about my upcoming internship in a neurobiology lab at Tel Aviv University.

We learned all the details of the program and were given a hard copy handbook with a packing list, suggestions for extra spending money and information about housing. For me, this was one of the most exciting parts. The summer suddenly felt so real and so soon, and I couldn’t wait to find my new favorite spots in Florentin. Panelists ecstatically listed off favorite restaurants and told of their times at the beach. Needless to say, by the end of the orientation, I was ready to board my flight to Tel Aviv!

Miranda Friedman, Brown University ’21, is from New York City and participated on Birthright Israel. She will be interning this summer at a Tel Aviv University research lab through the Boston Onward Israel professional internship program.