Staff Post: From the Flip Side, Learning about Masa as a Trip Participant
By Dylan Morpurgo, Senior Campus Coordinator Being the participant on an Israel trip was a nice change of scenery for someone who is usually at the front of the bus counting students and scheduling processing sessions in between meals and speakers. Last week, I had the opportunity to represent The David Project on a Masa Israel Journey trip as a part of a delegation of campus Israel and Jewish professionals.
It was a fun experience traveling the country in the back of a bus, being told what time I needed to be in the lobby, asking if I had time to run into a coffee shop, or where the restroom was located. Our delegation was composed mostly of people who had spent their winter being the ones leading the trips. This time we were the ones holding the group up because of our iced cafes.
The purpose of our trip was multifold. Our delegation, composed of organizations with varied missions, was given the opportunity to meet with Masa staff to better understand their work, their goals, and ways to engage Masa alumni back on campus. We spent the course of the week going on different site visits to meet with Masa program participants and learn about the Israel journey that they were on. From the participants spending a year on a farm in central Israel and living in yurts, to the students taking a semester to live and study in bustling Tel Aviv, to the recent graduates gaining valuable experience working in Jerusalem for government ministries, we were exposed to a wide variety of possibilities.
Masa, which offers over 300 different programs, made a concerted effort to give each of our organizations the opportunity to visit programs that would match with the students that we work with on campus. We can now go back to our students equipped to find the right program for them to continue their personal Israel journey.
I walked away from my most recent time in Israel with a better understanding of the experience my students have on Masa gap-year programs. I walked away with a better understanding of the experience my students have on a Masa study abroad program. I walked away feeling more confident in being able to guide and direct a student to a post-college Masa program that is an appropriate fit for them.
Through our model of Relational Advocacy, The David Project teaches the importance of your personal narrative. On this recent trip, I had the opportunity to share my personal narrative with staff and participants at volunteer and educational programs across Israel. It was a beautiful way to remember why I do the work that I do. Each trip to Israel, each conversation with an Israeli, each Israel event on campus, it all adds up. It all contributes to our own ever-growing and changing Israel story.
If you are interested in expanding your Israel experience and returning for an extended period of time, reach out to your campus coordinator to speak about Masa and other program possibilities.