Internship in Neot Semadar
About the Kibbutz
Kibbutz Neot Semadar is located in the Southern Negev Desert of Israel, about 60 km north of Eilat (Red Sea resort and port). (A Kibbutz is a communal form of agricultural or sometimes of industrial villages.) The Kibbutz was established in 1989 by a group of friends interested in creating a learning community that focuses on cooperation and creativity in daily life. As individuals in a dynamic community, we explore what it means to live together as co-learners, observing ourselves in everyday activities and relationships. Our interest in relationship extends to the environment through organic farming, desert architecture, water recycling, photovoltaic power-plant, The Art Center, winery, and more.
Today there are 100 adult members (families and singles), 70 children of various ages, and about 50-70 volunteers of all ages. These volunteers, from Israel and from all over the world come to Neot Semadar to find a fresh and independent perspective on life.
The company of the Kibbutz has several branches, such as organic agriculture, fruit processing factory, dairy, winery. All of them produce and sell healthy, organic products which are grown and created with the use of cutting edge, innovative and environmental friendly technologies. Thanks to these technologies they cope with the challenging environment and weather – they are situated in the middle of the Negev desert.
Even though a small community, they have strong relations with the surrounding similar communities, with the leadership of Eilot region (also a strong partner of EU innovation exchange projects), teacher trainer institutions and international partners, too.
The Kibbutz has a special branch that is responsible for giving educational content to the whole community, and taking care of the learning needs of members and volunteers and interns. They are building international relationships in the field of education and academic relationships and are responsible for fundraising as well.
About the Internship Program
The interns will join the work conducted in the organic agriculture. The exact tasks vary in each season. They will also have a specific project to work on, in cooperation and guidance by one of the professionals of the community. These people have both academic background and long years of experience on the field in diverse topics: water management, renewable energies, ecological building, organic farming etc. interns choose the project according to their studies. The majority of their time is going to be dedicated to work in organic agriculture and a smaller amount of time will be dedicated to the special project. The working language is English (in cases that Hebrew is used, there is always translation), so there is no need for specific language training.
The intern is assigned a personal mentor as well. The professional and personal mentor will have an initial talk with them to clarify expectations and learning goals. They will have a mid-term and a final evaluation as well.
Interns will join the on-going meetings of international volunteers and interns. These meetings are held every 2 weeks, and they focus on the personal and professional learning experiences of the participating people. There is professional guidance, and the goal is to give a tool which supports the interns to become conscious about the progress they make and the help them cope with possible difficulties.
The accommodation is offered on the grounds of the kibbutz, in simple housing units – usually 2 people are in one house, which has a bathroom and a simple kitchenette. Whole pension is catered to everyone living in the community, including the interns. The meals are eaten together in the communal dining room.
There are plenty of facilities on the grounds of Neot Semadar which can be used free of charge by the interns: library with a large selection of books in English and other European languages; swimming pool and a lake; bikes; free Wi-Fi.
The working language is simple English, so there is no need for language course. If the interns want to learn Hebrew, there is a possibility to organise tandem meetings with other volunteers. There is an on-going Arabic course for the members and volunteers of the kibbutz, the interns can join if they are at the same level as the group.
Social and integration activities: The bi-weekly meetings with other volunteers and interns are a very good opportunity to get to know each other in-depth; communal meals; joint festive meals on every Friday and on Holidays, holiday celebrations; cultural activities which are open for the whole community (such as concerts, dance classes).
Skills interns can acquire:
- Organisation and cooperation
- Planning of work, leading a team
- Planning an agricultural or environmental system, structure
- Intercultural knowledge and experience
- Improvement in English
- Self-expression in English
The goals of the Kibbutz regarding the Internship program
For Neot Semadar, it is important to have international mobility exchanges, for the following reasons:
- Meet people from the academic world, enrich the knowledge we gained during long years of field work
- To have another kind of opportunity to meet young people from abroad, together challenge our opinions, ask questions together on what seems to be obvious (eg. On how agriculture works, on how to plan an organic farm, how to answer the needs of different natural and built environments).
- Interns come for a longer period, it can create cooperation in lot of ways
- The economy of the kibbutz is based on volunteers, therefore the contribution of interns is also important, and they bring up-to-date knowledge from the academic world we can use in various ways
- The interns bring a fresh point of view, which supports innovation and growth
- The kibbutz has a talent development strategy which is very unique. Interns and volunteers who come with serious commitment to their tasks and want to contribute to the community get a lot of learning opportunities, knowledge and responsibilities, they become integral part of their workplace and of the whole community. This kind of appreciation is not easily found nowadays, and is very beneficial for the professional and personal development of the interns. On the other hand, the kibbutz’s economy benefits from their input.