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Finding “home” 5,000 miles away

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When Ruthie Wyshogrod began to look for her first co-op job, she knew where she wanted to work: Israel. The political science major concentrating in Middle Eastern studies has dual citizenship; Wyshogrod was born and lived in Israel until the age of 11, when her family moved to Massachusetts.

“When it came to finding a co-op job, I knew I only wanted to look in Israel,” said Wyshogrod. “I wanted to experience living in Israel as an adult and was lucky to find a job in Tel Aviv that I truly enjoyed.”

From July through December in 2009, Wyshgrod lived in Tel Aviv and worked with Beilink, a business venture founded by Dr. Yossi Beilin, who had previously served the Israeli government as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Finance Minister, Minister of Economy and Planning and Minister of Justice. “Beilink promotes Israeli business domestically and abroad and is a very diversified organization,” comments Wyshogrod. “I was given the opportunity to become involved in many interesting projects.”

Fluent in English and Hebrew, Wyshogrod worked as a translator for a variety of projects. “The great thing about co-op is that it exposes you to new and different opportunities. For me, the real take-away from this experience was living in Tel Aviv,” she remarks.

Last summer Wyshogrod visited Israel again when she participated in Northeastern University’s signature Dialogue of Civilizations program. Dialogue of Civilizations is a faculty-led program that connects Northeastern students with their peers around the world in different national, cultural, political, and social environments, typically for five weeks. The “dialogue” in each country involves a series of meetings and discussions between students and local government, business, and community leaders on a range of topics. It is one of several experiential learning programs that have been rapidly expanding around the world; co-op and Northeastern’s other experiential learning programs now have students working, studying and conducting research in 160 cities and 69 countries on all seven continents.

With the knowledge gained from these experiences, Wyshogrod graduated with the class of 2011 and plans to move to Tel Aviv this summer. She hopes to work toward a peaceful and just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for both parties. “The thought of moving so far is a bit scary, but it is also exciting,” she reflects. “Though I’m not sure what my first job will be, I know my career will involve peace making on different levels.”