This past spring, I co-oped at Autodesk Tel Aviv, where I worked in software quality assurance automation. As a computer engineer, I knew that the “start-up nation” of Israel would be a great place for me to co-op and experience a new working environment. What I didn’t really realize before I left was that I was embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.

My co-op was facilitated by a Masa program called Career Israel, and I was supported with an awesome scholarship from CJP! As a participant in the program, I got to live with and develop amazing friendships with young Jews from around the world; our group of 40 came from America, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, England, South Africa, Russia and Australia. We traveled together all over the place, with program trips to the north and south, and to the Dead Sea and Jerusalem. Because of the length of the program, we had more time to travel off the beaten path and settle into the rhythm of life in Tel Aviv. Every holiday was an amazing new experience—I was there for Purim, Passover, Shavuot and Israel’s 70th birthday, which was incredible.

Jessie Sigler at Independence Hall (Courtesy photo)
Jessie Sigler at Independence Hall (Courtesy photo)

Through Masa, I had an extremely special and moving experience on Yom HaShoah, when we attended the national ceremony at Yad Vashem, and on Yom Hazikaron, when we attended a ceremony with thousands of other Masa participants from different programs. Every moment was something new—whenever I wasn’t working I was on the move with friends, visiting a new place or having a new experience. In addition to enjoying the work I was doing at Autodesk and being part of Masa, I got to visit with my Israeli cousins nearly every week. Though I barely knew them before I came to Israel, they welcomed me so warmly and made me feel right at home. My experience in Israel was unforgettable, and I can’t wait to go back!

Jessie Sigler, Northeastern University ’20, is a computer engineering student with minors in history and Jewish studies from Southborough. In Spring 2018 she participated in Career Israel, a Masa program run by Israel Experience. She received a scholarship from Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston’s IACT Initiative.

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