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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.

Antonia Neumeier, ClickCease

Mein Aufenthalt in Israel

Gereist bin ich schon immer gerne, aber bisher hat es mich nur für wenige Wochen ins europäische Ausland gezogen. Mit dem Vorsatz ein komplett anderes Land (im Vergleich zu Deutschland) kennen zu lernen, trat ich Mitte Oktober meine Reise nach Tel Aviv an. Über den Flughafen in Istanbul landete ich nach mehreren Pass- und Sicherheitskontrollen um vier Uhr morgens am Ben Gurion Airport.

Mein erstes Gespräch bevor ich israelischen Boden betreten durfte, war gleichzeitig mein unfreundlichstes. Von da an ging es allerdings auch schon bergauf. In der Zeit, die ich Israel und besonders Tel Aviv erleben durfte, lernte ich die spontanen Gespräche auf der Straße, freundlichen Wegbeschreibungen und die sportlich motivierende Art vieler Isralis kennen und lieben. Eine Unterkunft fand ich für diese Zeit im Stadtzentrum, nahe des Dizengoff Centers. Dort zog ich in eine Wohngemeinschaft mit einem cholerischen Dreißig-Jährigen und einer sympathischen, auch ein Praktikum absolvierenden Französin.

Mein Lieblingsort wurde der Co-Working Space AYEKA in Florentin, in dem meine Praktikumsgeber ClickCease sechs Arbeitsplätze in einem kleinen Office anmietete. Die zwei Founder Yuval Haimov und Ilan Missulawin nahmen mich für 17 Wochen unter ihre Fittiche und ließen mich als Grafik Designerin Teil ihres Teams werden. So bearbeitete ich täglich anfallenden Kleinaufgaben, stellte Bildcollagen zusammen, konzeptionierte und erstellte Werbung, design Icons und ein Logo und kreierte Zeichnungen und Illustrationen.

Neben der Arbeit verbrachte ich oft meine Abende in gemütlicher Runde mit den anderen Teilnehmern des New Kibbutz Programmes in einer Bar, einem Restaurant oder auch zu Brett- und Kartenspieleabenden in privaten Räumlichkeiten. Am Wochenende nutzte die Gruppe das schöne Wetter um am Strand Sonne zu tanken oder das Land zu erkunden und beispielsweise einen Tagesausflug nach Akko zu unternehmen.

Ein Highlight meiner Zeit in Israel waren auch die von der AHK geplanten Ausflüge des New Kibbutz Programmes: Der Besuch des Kibbutz Afikim und des Ortes Tzfat, eine Knesset Besichtigung mit Ausflug zur Hans-Seidl-Stiftung in Jerusalem und eine Fahrt in die Golanhöhen. Alles in allem lässt sich rückblickend sagen, dass ich meinen Aufenthalt in Israel – innerhalb und außerhalb meines Arbeitsplatzes – sehr genossen habe, gerne daran zurückdenke und schon meinen nächsten Besuch plane.

Christian Schletter, Siemens Industry Software

Israel - A small country that offers several different landscapes, uncountable cultures, a booming high-tech sector, infinite history and warmhearted people.

When you hear about Israel in the news in Germany, it is either talking about conflicts or about Startups. In the radio you might hear Neta and with friends you might discuss the rave and party scene. As always, the media picks the most extreme points of a country and influences the overall mindset about it. So what would there be better to do, than go there and see it for yourself?

Yes. You could just travel to the Holy Land for one or two weeks and go from one touristic place to the next. But what if you could stay longer and connect the stay with work experience in a foreign country? There’s where the New Kibbutz Program comes in.

Unlike other New Kibbutz participants, I wrote my Master thesis during the six-month internship in Tel Aviv. And I enjoyed every second of it.

I worked at Siemens Industry Software. This branch is a former Startup which is responsible for an industrial simulation software. I was part of the R&D Team and worked on Deep Learning Algorithms that enable robots to grasp objects intuitively in the simulation environment. The work there gave me the possibility to have insights in a settled company, with still a startup spirit, great facilities (even a relaxation room in the office) and very nice colleagues. We made trips to the desert together, went to escape-the-room evenings and to bars.

After work, I never spent my evening watching series in my room. The city was just to vibrant, the beach to close and friends always around. As the weather is (almost) always good, a lot of the life happens outside. Either in the uncountable bars or on the beach volley ball fields. The Tel Avivians are always open for a talk, happy to recommend you new spots and ask you about your experience in Israel. The parties are uncountable: from free clubs, to never ending street parties, hidden raves to great techno clubs or a 24h rave in the desert. I might have destroyed my hearing, but it was absolutely worth it.

On the week-ends, it is really easy to travel around in this small country. The north resembles Europe, with green forests and little hills. The further you get south, the dryer it gets, until you come to the Negev desert. This part is also very unique and impressive, especially Mizpe Ramon (lovely for camping and stargazing). For only 4€ it is possible to go to Jerusalem. From there the Westbank opens up. The Arab cities with their markets, chaotic traffic and welcoming people amazed me and I spent a lot of time there.

Liron from the New Kibbutz program organized a really intense trip to the Golan Heights. On another trip to a ‘old’ Kibbutz we got an insight of the daily life there, which was quite interesting. In general, some great friendships emerged from the New Kibbutz, some that I will surely keep my whole life. Together we rented cars and visited the country.

I will always remember my time in Israel, as an interesting, enriching and fun experience. And I will come back. That’s for sure.

Jonathan Knodel, Younity

New Kibbutz - eine lehrreiche Zeit

Die Zeit in Israel war auf vielfältige Art und Weise sehr lehrreich für mich. Ein Teil meines Umfelds war etwas skeptisch als ich Ihnen mitgeteilt habe, dass ich für drei Monate nach Israel gehen möchte. In Deutschland wird häufig nur über Israel berichtet wenn etwas schlimmes passiert ist. Umso positiver überrascht war ich von dem leichten und lockeren Lebensgefühl in Tel Aviv. Schon auf dem Weg vom Flughafen zu meiner Wohnung haben sich die Israelis als sehr hilfsbereit und freundlich gezeigt. Auch der Start in meinem Startup Younity wurde mir sehr einfach gemacht. Mein zuvorkommender Chef Chen hat mir direkt am ersten Tag eine israelische SIM-Karte besorgt sowie sein Fahrrad für die Zeit ausgeliehen. Die ersten Tage hatte ich die Möglichkeit mich in die Branche einzulesen und Fragen zu stellen. Anschließend hatte ich die Aufgabe eine Marktanalyse durchzuführen, es war schön zu sehen das meine Erkenntnisse ernst genommen wurden und direkten Eingang in die Executive Summary des Unternehmens hatten. Neben der direkten Aufgabe konnte ich insbesondere durch das Arbeitsumfeld viel lernen. Younity hat Arbeitsplätze im WeWork angemietet, die modern eingerichteten Räumlichkeiten, mit freien Getränken bieten die optimale Atmosphäre um kreativ zu sein. In einem Großraumbüro mit vielen anderen Startups gab es nahezu unendlich viele Möglichkeiten neues zu lernen. Exemplarisch möchte ich zwei Dinge herausgreifen die ich während des Praktikums gelernt habe:

1. Keine Angst vor Fehlern - Während meiner Zeit hier gab es Startups die aufgegeben haben, weil sie festgestellt haben, dass ihre Idee nicht so gut war wie zuerst angenommen. Dennoch sind sie sehr entspannt damit umgegangen und meinten sobald man aus den Fehlern lernt die man gemacht hat, ist es eine Lehrstunde und keine Katastrophe. Sehr interessant war für mich auch die Einstellungen eines Kollegen, er meinte: “In einem Startup geht es nicht darum keine Fehler zu machen, sondern so wenige wie möglich.” Diese Sichtweise empfinde ich als sehr befreiend und inspirierend. Ich glaube, dass mich der Gedanke einen Fehler zu begehen bisher gehemmt hat, mein Potential ganz zu entfalten und meinen Ideen / Träumen konsequent nachzugehen.

2. Chutzpe - Nach Wikipedia steht Chutzpe für „Frechheit, Anmaßung, Dreistigkeit, Unverschämtheit und ist eine Mischung aus zielgerichteter, intelligenter Unverschämtheit, charmanter Penetranz und unwiderstehlicher Dreistigkeit.” Israelis wissen was sie wollen und kommunizieren sehr direkt und dennoch charmant. Wenn sie etwas interessiert, fragen sie nicht drum herum sondern kommen direkt auf den Punkt. Diese Art der offenen und direkten Kommunikation war anfangs etwas gewöhnungsbedürftig, allerdings konnte ich der israelischen Art immer mehr abgewinnen. Ich denke mit der Zeit habe ich diese intelligente Unverschämtheit adaptiert, so habe ich zum Beispiel einfach den Bildschirm meines Nebensitzers beschlagnahmt der kaum im Büro anzutreffen war. Gerne möchte ich diese direkte und dennoch charmante Art mit nach Deutschland nehmen und aussprechen was ich mir wünsche aber auch was mich stört.

Insgesamt war es auf fachlicher, kulinarischer und persönlicher Ebene eine sehr gewinnbringende Zeit für mich. Ich kann jedem nur empfehlen selbst in diese verrückte, lebensfrohe und Innovative Kultur einzutauchen.