I’ll admit: traveling internationally with 20+ people – even my amazing peers at SOM – wasn’t exactly how I’d elect to spend my three weeks of Spring Break. Call me surprisingly introverted. However, getting to know a handful of first-year colleagues whom I had not known before was a real highlight.We tend to live a lot of our daily lives at SOM in our cohorts – and while I was lucky enough to have many of my fellow Blue Cohort members (there were 9 of us total) on our IE trip – it was really refreshing to get to know more of my classmates. There were plenty of “quality time” opportunities. From small group dinners to beach time in Eilat to a walk up Masada to a run along the coast in Tel Aviv, I was able to spend time with – and learn from – a number of talented, fun, and thoughtful classmates. I’d say the other important part of this trip beyond the business meetings was the chance to get out of New Haven. Even though there is a lot of flexibility in a business school schedule, there is a daily grind. Removing oneself from that and feeling a new sense of place has been crucial to doing well here at Yale. With Israel being about the size of New Jersey, we easily moved around the country and never spent more than two nights in a row at a single location. Tel Aviv. Jerusalem. Eilat. Kibbutz Ketura – yep, we stayed a kibbutz, true story.
I always enjoy being in the desert for a short period of time and then look forward to returning to the more fertile agricultural lands. What was of course distinct about Israel is its citizens’ desire to secure land – even in seemingly stark places. The notion of “self-made” was pervasive – and while the kibbutzes showcased “self-made” communities, I was really attracted to how individual people and single family units were getting creative about sustainable living – this is a family we met who is living in the Arava, growing date palms and olive trees with very few extra hands. Beautiful.