Testimonials of former New Kibbutz participants

Max Lenzen, Innogy Innovation Hub

3 advantages of joining the New Kibbutz Program

Before I decided to apply for the New Kibbutz program, I wasn’t sure whether this is the right thing for me. I looked at the internship positions and I didn’t see a fit. In fact, it took me a year to finally take the decision to apply. So for all of you who are currently in the same situation: Apply. You will defi-nitely not regret it and maybe you will even consider turning your return trip to Germany into a home vacation trip, just to come back to Israel and stay for a bit longer. At least, that is what I did. Why? Because of 3 advantages of the NK program no one in Germany will tell you about:

1. The easiest and safest way you will ever get an internship abroad. For some, this may sound strange, but let me tell you: The application process is a piece of cake and the paperwork nothing compared to doing it on your own. I lived in the US for one year and I know what I am talking about. Also, there is no safer way to join a startup abroad. As the startups themselves have to get accepted to the program, you can be relatively sure that the AHK already checked them. In case something is not as expected, it is always nice to have a back-up institution and Liron did an amazing job at making sure that we are ok and having the time of our life. Thanks to our NK whatsapp group, all NK partici-pants could easily exchange Life & Travel hacks (used to be called recommendations) or spontaneous-ly hang out together.

2. The unique team experience. Let’s face it, in most internships we start out with the hope of doing something meaningful and we end up with resignation and the unfulfilled hope. This can also happen in Israel, but for me and many other NK participants it was the exact opposite: From day one, I was part of much more than just a team, working with them, not for them. At many points it felt like being part of a family, and me getting invited to a Shabbat dinner is just one of many memories I will take back home. Everyone at work always let me know that my work is appreciated and adds value. This doesn’t mean that every single task was a wow experience, but there were definitely more wow experiences than I can count. Every day at work was an opportunity to learn and enjoy.

3. High financial support. I know, you’re not actually getting a salary when you are part of the NK program. And even though I personally believe that this experience cannot be measured in terms of money, I want to show you why you actually do get a high salary: First of all, most startups pay for your meals and bus tickets. Considering that (a) we are in many cases talking about startups without huge budgets, that (b) the salaries here in Israel are, on average, lower than the ones in Germany and that (c) the living expenses are incredibly high in Tel Aviv, this is a big deal. Furthermore, the NK will inform you about all funding opportunities which might apply to you and there is no simpler and faster access to it than through the NK (I believe each one of us got funded). This often totals a value of more than 700€ per month (500€ funding + about 200€ for food & bus transportation) which is not bad for an internship remuneration.

There are many more great reasons why to choose the NK program and come to Israel, from the beautiful landscapes it has to offer to the cultural & political NK trips in which we had 2 hours of Q&A with the former head of the Israeli embassy in Berlin. So if this sounds interesting to you, apply. Just do it.

Questions? Contact Max!

Florian Fischer, CREATORS

New Kibbutz and my time in Israel was a game changer for me. I spent six months in Tel Aviv working with CREATORS Ideation Lab, an initiative that connects the corporate- and the startup-world. After interning in Berlin and San Francisco, my New Kibbutz internship was by far the best I had. From the on-boarding to joint activities with other New Kibbutznikim - the program made my Israel experience as convenient as it can get. Towards the end of my internship - I was already planning how to extend my stay in Israel - I took notice through the German Chamber of Commerce in Tel Aviv that the city of Mannheim is about to set up a joint program with Tel Aviv and part of a delegation travel.

Today, back in Germany I’m not just learning Hebrew, but also working on my first job at Startup Mannheim, building the bridge between German Mittelstand and Israeli Tech Startups. Thanks to New Kibbutz I had the opportunity to meet inspiring people in the Israeli Tech scene and build a personal network in Israel that I work with every day. I’m also still in touch with my former supervisor at CREATORS who is still a great mentor for me.

Tel Aviv is a unique place with its very own vibes: The city is fun to live in, full of great people who are eager to share their experiences with you and always up for a party. I can just encourage you to participate in the program, enjoy the Israeli way of life and work on your own Israel story!

Jonas Markfort, Cellebrite

Impressions of my five-months internship in Israel

Why Israel? That’s the question most of my friends asked me. I was looking for an internship around the world without any preferences for a country. To gain some information I went to an event of the University of Applied Science Munich. That was the first time I have heard about the program “New Kibbutz”, so I took a leaflet and applied a few weeks later, almost without any knowledge of this country. The application process was fast and uncomplicated, within a few weeks I had an interview with the company Cellebrite and got the job just three days later.

Three month later, in the end of September I flew to Israel. Now with more information than before, I wasn’t that enthusiastic anymore. I was sceptic because the daily news reports of war, rockets, and conflicts in Israel. After the four hours flight to Ben Gurion airport, I took the train to the city center where my hostel was located. At the airport I got a first impression of local Israelis, they were super friendly and helpful. E.g. when I bought the train ticket I got immediately support of locals and one even showed me the right platform and when to leave the train. This positive impression was supported on every single day living in Israel.

After the stay in the hostel I moved to flats, which were always sublets (shared flats, which are rented for few weeks/ months). It is kind of annoying to move that often but on the other hand you see more areas of the city and you have more contact to locals. It is easy to find a flat compared to Munich, but it is short term and very expensive.

On Sunday, October 1st I started my internship at Cellebrite. My positive impressions of the first days were supported by my helpful colleagues. They helped me to get the monthly bus ticket, the mobile contract and everything else you need in a foreign country. Compared to Germany, people in Israel are very open minded and welcoming. I went out to bars and clubs after work with lots of colleagues. My boss took always care of me, not only at the company also in private. She gave me her private contact details, in case I need local support. Within the company I had the opportunity to rotate within four different departments to learn as much as possible. Most of the projects I was involved were very interesting and extended my horizon. I was on the same level as other employees and got real projects, which gave me the opportunity to experience the real occupational routine. Furthermore, Cellebrite offered great benefits, like three free meals a day, a free fitness membership, and we even had PlayStation rooms.

In my spare time I travelled a lot in the country. Some trips were organized by Liron, we went together to Sea of Galilee, to the Golan Heights, and to the Knesset and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. All interns of the program participated, not only because of the great destinations and organization, also because we had a great community. Furthermore, I travelled a lot with friends and other interns within the whole country. The country is not very big, so you can go to every corner even for a weekend.

So why Israel again? Because of the spectacular landscapes, the successful start-ups scenery, the helpful and open-minded people, the great nightlife in Tel Aviv, and the impressive history and culture.

I want to say thank you to everybody who supported me in this time abroad, and especially to Liron for the ability to participate in this program. Hopefully many other interns will follow and enjoy their time in Israel like I did. Toda raba!

Svea Becker, Merck Group

The New Kibbutz program was the perfect opportunity for me to pursue my activities in cancer research abroad. Israel has always been a country of choice for its cultural aspects and the rising economic structure of startups.

Apart from being able to work in an interesting company, where the internship is rich in experience, the program also enables us to take part in the cultural life. We volunteers have the possibility to participate in trips to cities like Tzfat and even visit a Kibbutz. In our free time, our supervisor is kindly showing us the nightlife of Tel Aviv and is always happy to give us tips for an easier and more fun live in the white city.

Matthias Milz, Placense

Thanks to the smooth organization of the AHK and a great Placense team, I had an incredible time in Israel. Even if you decide to do an internship spontaneously, the bureaucratic hurdles can be overcome very quickly and the internship can be started within a very short lead time.

Many German interns live in Tel Aviv at the same time and do internships in various industries. Thanks to Lirons events and Whatsapp group you can get in touch with them very quickly and through this exchange you can not only meet other startups, but also find friends for life.

Tel Aviv is an incredibly vibrant city. People want to do a lot, play sports or hang out in bars. This gives you the opportunity to quickly discover many new locations and share your hobbies with others. For example, I got involved in a beach volleyball group and was always able to pursue my hobby as the fields are open and illuminated at all times.

Placense is like being part of a family and also being treated like that. One speaks on equal terms with each team member and is thereby much more agile with the decision making. All problems are immediately tackled and solved. I was able to develop my own ideas and quickly realize what part of my time I can contribute to Placense.

In Tel Aviv, you have an incomparable startup experience with great people, a vibrant town at the seaside and a family to guide you on your journey. You find yourself in an incredibly dynamic atmosphere, where everyone pursues the same goals and is ready to do whatever they need to do to. Getting to know this corporate culture is a priceless experience that I highly recommend to anyone.

Many thanks to the whole Placense team, you have given me a perfect internship and inspired me to work in the startup world. I also thank Liron for her incredibly competent and quick help with all my questions and for the excellent organization and helpfulness.

If you have any questions, just send me a message: matthias.milz@outlook.de

Tom Schwitzkowski, Algopix

Travelling, experiencing new cultures or working in an unfamiliar environment - Everyone has their own reasons for doing an internship abroad. My personal motivation is twofold: On the one hand I feel like living in a country will grant you deeper insights into its culture than being on a two week vacation. On the other hand I’ve been fascinated by startups for several years, on and off my studies. When a friend of mine told me about Tel Aviv and its startup ecosystem I knew that I should give the “New Kibbutz” a shot.

Shortly after applying to “New Kibbutz” I had an interview with Dani Avitz from Algopix. We talked for a little bit to get to know each other and found out that working at Algopix would be a good fit for me and vice versa. So what’s next? Luckily, Liron’s there for you and supports you throughout the organization of your internship, visa application, and stay in Israel. One week before the start of my internship I finally arrived in Tel Aviv and was blown away by the city - but more on that later!

First, I want to talk about my internship so you can get an idea what it is like to work at Algopix and what to expect. If you’re not familiar with Algopix here’s a quick summary: Algopix provides a product market research platform for eBay and Amazon sellers allowing its users to make informed business decisions about a product’s profitability and more. Algopix’s office is located in a huge business tower in Bnei-Brak just a few minutes by bus from Tel Aviv. (Update 03.2019: In the meantime they moved to Petah-Tikva) On the 14th floor you will share an office with three great colleagues (Dani - Algopix Co-Founder, Nadav, and Yaniv) and be in contact with two additional colleagues (Ori - Algopix Founder, and Viktor) who are located in different parts of the world.

During my time at Algopix, Dani and I worked closely together on marketing related tasks, such as eBlasts and content for our website to name a few. Later, I was able to take on more responsibility by conducting feedback calls with customers and taking charge of a major pilot program for a fortune 500 company. “Great to see what you did but I’m more interested in the work culture” you might say now. And you’re right. Working on tasks you like is one thing but working in a great atmosphere will make any task 100 times better. Since I already worked for a startup during my studies I expected a dynamic environment and flat hierarchies. And let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed at Algopix. I had projects to work on but on some days new tasks came in that had to be done first. This teaches you how to prioritize tasks and keeps things fresh. Dani makes sure that there’s always something you can do but he also listens to your needs and wishes. It is great to be a functioning team member from day one and have a boss who listens to you. It helps you grow! Additionally, Nadav and Yaniv are great co-workers who are fun to talk to and taught me a lot about Israel.

Do you know what adds perfectly to a great internship? An exceptional country and great people to spend your time with. The people in Tel Aviv are very open minded and it feels like everybody has an interesting story to share. It never gets boring - you can go to the beach, play beach volleyball, try surfing, go to different events, check out the bars and clubs, or just chill with some friends. As a member of the New Kibbutz you will be part of the New Kibbutz WhatsApp group which helps you connect with other like-minded interns, quickly find friends to plan trips or spend your time with. Talking about trips: Israel is great for weekend trips! You can easily rent a car and plan a road trip to the Golan Heights, Eilat, or the Negev Desert. If you have a tent you don’t have to worry about a place to sleep since Israel is a camping friendly country. Just camp in the desert or near the beach.

To sum it up, I thoroughly enjoyed my internship at Algopix and the time in Tel Aviv. I would recommend to everyone doing the New Kibbutz Program and interning at Algopix.

Any questions? Contact Tom

Skyline Robotics, Christian Bruchhaus

My name is Christian Bruchhaus and I am studying Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University of Dortmund in Germany. I came across the program “The New Kibbutz” by chance through the German Israeli Chamber in Tel Aviv, and applied for a four-month internship at Skyline Robotics. “The New Kibbutz” is a program that interprets the “kibbutz” spirit in a modern, high-tech cosmopolitan as Tel Aviv, providing German students the opportunity for a unique kind of internship.

I knocked on the door of the Skyline Robotics HQ, also simply called “lab” on my first day in early April 2018. I hadn’t realized I was about to experience one of the most exciting and instructive times in my life for the next four months, and thereby find new professional perspectives.

On the first day I got to know the team and felt right at home. Avi and Yaron, as well as the rest of the team, are very open-minded people who are very good at what they do, yet create a relaxed atmosphere that somehow captivates you. One also notices that the two company founders Yaron and Avi, although very different, understand each other well and work hand in hand in the best way.

My tasks were mainly in the R&D department. I was given a completely independent project, which I would not call a marginal project and which was actually very challenging. With the more classical mechanical engineering background I had, I first had to learn programming in C, the extended use of CAD modeling software and the daily use of an ubuntu system. What I really appreciated was that I got enough time to delve into those topics. In order to implement the project, I had to design components, 3D print them, and create full scale documentation on my own. The 3D printer available for this is state of the art and I was able to try and learn so much. I was encouraged to order all the electrical and mechanical components I needed independently online, and had to build a working prototype with them. Smaller side tasks have never made it boring though.

It was super challenging being someone with limited knowledge of Hebrew having to buy components in the surrounding shops, where sometimes nobody speaks English. With a few Hebrew rags and hands and feet everything always worked out surprisingly well. Quality is a top priority at Skyline Robotics and especially for CTO Avi. So I did a lot of quality control and although it doesn’t sound that cool, it actually helped me a lot in my work. I liked the mixture of “just doing something” and “detail is everything”.

The working environment too was great. I can honestly say that CEO Yaron takes great care of all employees. We were sponsored one meal a day and the fridge in the lab was never empty. Coffee was always there! In addition, one always has the feeling of being able to contribute something to the design of the lab. A highlight were the three experiments, which we carried out with the complete robot system on several skyscrapers in Tel Aviv, where my manpower was really needed and it was simply awesome to see “Ozmo” descend on the building wall and to see significant improvements to every experiment. All in all: 10/10 would do again!

I wish all the luck to the team and it wasn’t my last visit to Tel Aviv.