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Meet an Alumnus: Allie Bernstein

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Allie Bernstein 1
 Allie Bernstein 2

 When you went on your Birthright Israel trip and with which organizer, why you decided to go: I went last winter (2013-14) with Shorashim. I decided to go because I was excited about a free trip and to connect with a country I felt I didn't know enough about. Plus I had several friends who all told me I absolutely had to do Shorashim.

Your favorite Birthright Israel trip memory: One of my favorite moments from Birthright was our night in the Bedouin tent. I loved the camel ride, of course, but it was also incredible to spend a night in a big old tent with my 50 new best friends. Our walk under the stars helped me really connect with myself, and I felt truly alive that night!

How did your trip affect your life?: Well, you could say it had an effect, since after returning I changed my life completely. I'm currently writing this from Israel during my five-month internship program here for the fall. I'm excited to pursue a new career, live in a new country, and see how things go with a cute soldier from my trip!

Tell us about your current program in Israel (including name): I'm here on a program called Career Israel, which is a branch of Israel Experience. Career Israel helps you find an internship in Israel (either in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv), and provides housing, Hebrew lessons, transportation to work, and trips/programming throughout the five months. I've met people from all over the world as we start working here together.

Now that you live in Israel, what is the biggest culture shock?: Besides the fact that milk isn't really considered a drink on its own (bizarre!), it's that Israelis don't spend much time on niceties. Whether it was the woman who corrected my Hebrew homework on the bus, or the people who bump into you on the street and move on, or the questions asked without apology, it's sort of a refreshing approach to life! I feel bad for all the people I'll bump into without apologizing when I return to Chicago...

Your favorite Israel food: You ask tough questions. Generally, you can't go wrong with a falafel laffa, and not just because it's fun to say.

Your favorite Hebrew word/phrase: I have a few! Alcogel is hand sanitizer (which makes perfect sense), and the Hebrew version of "one thing at a time" is "parra parra," or literally "cow cow."

You are from (if Chicago, be more specific): Deerfield, IL

Thing you miss most about Chicago: I miss my family and friends, of course, but in a close second place is Lou Malnati's deep dish pizza.

Relationship status: In a relationship...with one of the soldiers from Birthright. Yes, I'm that guy.

Your claim to fame/fun fact: I'm learning to skate roller derby and go by the name Curls Gone Wild.