Back in Cambridge: Reflections on Israel Lab

I’ve now had two weeks to reflect on my Israel Lab experience back in the chilly comforts of Cambridge. The whole class came together with other members of the MIT community and outside guests for a debrief session and to share the results of our projects earlier this week. It was powerful to hear the range of contributions that my classmates and I were able to make and to hear the reaction of Dean Cohen and others. I’m glad that I took Israel Lab, and I believe that I will remember the opportunity to live and work in Israel fondly for the rest of my life.

Experiencing Israel in person was my favorite part of the experience. Jerusalem was unlike any other place I’ve ever been. It was beautiful and historical, but most importantly it helped me reflect on my place in the universe now and through the full stream of time. It was an invigorating opportunity. Living in Tel Aviv provided an easy transition into this new country. While I couldn’t read most of the signs I saw, English was spoken widely, the city was easy to navigate, and it didn’t feel that different from cities in the US or Europe that I have visited or lived in before.

The project was challenging at times, but was a great opportunity to experience an extremely early stage startup and learn about a new industry (pharmaceuticals and biotech). My team commuted between Tel Aviv and Rehovot, where Kiralis is located near the Weizmann Institute. The company’s office was located in an office park near other technology companies. It definitely felt like we were part of something with lots of potential, even if there was still work needed to get there. With more reflection, I’ve come to appreciate more the amount of work necessary for a company to become an “overnight success”. I also got to learn more about the pharmaceutical industry through our research and interviews. This knowledge will be helpful for me in the future, and I glad I pushed out of my comfort zone to learn.

Overall, I’m happy with my Israel Lab experience. Spending three weeks away from home was tough at times. Reflecting on the unique opportunities that the class, project, and trip provided, I can’t imagine having sat in my apartment for all of January instead. For any Sloanies reading this that are thinking about taking Israel Lab, do it! Shalom!

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