August 2023FEATURE

San Diego Native Prepares for College After Year In Israel


The college transition can be extremely difficult as a first-year student. Questions about classes, majors, career paths and even roommates can bring up intimidating fears regarding the future.

But for Masa Israel Journey fellows, the shift into college life is more exciting and less frightening.

Masa Israel Journey is a gap year program where graduating high school students spend a year in Israel interning or volunteering before entering universities or the professional world.

Priva Donner is finishing her gap year with Masa. Originally from San Diego, Donner has decided she will move to the east coast and study at Northeastern University at the end of her gap year.

She said, “Next year I plan on attending Northeastern University, located in Boston, where I will major in entrepreneurship and social innovation.”

Donner spent her year exploring Tel Aviv and Jerusalem while completing two internships. Her internships helped to nurture her artistic abilities and passion for fashion.

“During my time here, I spent four months in Tel Aviv interning for a fashion designer, and the last four months interning for a contemporary artist in Jerusalem,” she said.

Not only does Masa place fellows like Donner in internships, but the program also offers advisors and counselors to support fellows in answering questions about daily internship tasks. In fact, according to the Masa website, fellows are encouraged to choose an internship outside of their comfort zone so they can learn new skills from the experience.

This year, Masa also offered three events that helped participants to discover opportunities for life after their gap year.

One event was the Masa Career Fair. This event provided fellows with a view of possible career options and gave them tools to help market themselves for future careers. According to Masa staff, fellows were offered numerous interviews by the 30 or so companies that participated.

Masa also hosted a leadership summit where, according to Masa officials, approximately 120 fellows were taught long-lasting professional and leaderships skills to be used in support of their Jewish communities at home. The summit was five days long and was taught by faculty from across the globe.

Fellows like Donner, additionally attended the “Next Step Event.” This event prepared students for life at college and aided fellows in finding Jewish clubs and organizations on their campus. The event featured various presentations from leaders like Lirone Glikman, an international speaker and consultant who gave advice on business communication and personal branding.

Donner’s favorite part of the Masa experience, she said, was being fully immersed in the Israeli culture. She celebrated Jewish holidays with other fellows, and quickly developed an admiration for the vast social events and traditions Israel has to offer. She said she will continue to see the benefits from her gap year throughout her life.

“During this year I have cultivated lifelong relationships, gained work experience, and found a sense of community that I had never felt while being in Israel.”


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