Being an American Living in Israel

Posted on Thursday, July 16th, 2015 by

Untitled-1Check out my post about what it’s like being an American living in Tel Aviv, Israel for a summer.

Living in Tel Aviv as an American

Have you ever moved to a foreign country to work or study for a couple of months? Nowadays, many students in America like to study abroad during a semester of college. Some like to travel during their summers. As for me, I chose to work abroad in Israel this summer. For some, it’s tough to get acclimated to a country’s culture. Since this is my third time in Israel, I knew a lot about their culture to begin with. But I’m an American living in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is very international compared to other cities in Israel but even so, it’s tough to fit in right away. Here are some instances of how Americans live in Israel:

The Language Barrier

Many of us on my program have a background of learning Hebrew by attending Hebrew school or having family members who speak Hebrew. However, there are only a few that are fluent. It’s nice to have them around because when we try to ask something in Hebrew, Israelis will automatically respond in English. I don’t know if it’s the way we look or our accents, but it’s very tough to act exactly like an Israeli especially when we’re only living here for two months and don’t have time to become fluent.

Shuk in Tel Aviv vs. Grocery Store in U.S.

Going to the Shuk can be overwhelming for an American. In the States, usually you go shopping on the weekends to stock up for the week but here in Tel Aviv, Israelis don’t buy in bulk but simply buy what is needed for the next day or so until they return to the Shuk again. People at the Shuk are also shoving you left and right as you make your way to that vegetable stand you love. Another thing that differs the Shuk from a grocery store is bargaining. You can’t go to a Costco or Sam’s Club in America and bargain the meat you’re trying to buy, but at the Shuk, you can.

Work Environment

Back in the States, you head to work early morning and see everyone in their suits/business outfits while holding their morning coffee. Usually the normal time to get into the office is around 8AM. Here in Tel Aviv, it all depends on the job. Whether you are working at a small start up company or a huge advertising agency, the time to show up to work depends on the supervisors. Usually, it’s not as early in the morning. As a marketing intern at All My Faves, my work times can change from day to day. My job is to search web content that I can post on the All My Faves’ Facebook and Twitter pages, and blog frequently. The dress for work is also more casual depending on the job. You don’t see as many people wearing suits as you walk down King George Street heading to your bus stop or your office.

The Weekends

In the United States, the weekends are typically Saturday and Sunday. Here in Israel, the weekends are Friday and Saturday because of Shabbat. It took some adjusting to change the days of our weekends because while we are at work in Israel on Sundays, everyone back in the U.S. still has the day off. Luckily in Tel Aviv, there are a couple of shops that are open during Shabbat Friday night but Saturday is a beach day since almost everything is closed.


When going out in Tel Aviv, the social norm is to head out around 12 and stay out basically all night. Back in America, at least at my university, the norm to start the night would be around 10-10:30PM. You can easily spot an American at a bar or club in Tel Aviv when they are the first to arrive.

Taking Pictures

A final way to easily pick out an American is someone who is constantly taking pictures. Pictures of food, a street sign, their morning coffee from Aroma or Cofix, and more. Just the other day, one of my friends was called out by our waiter for taking a picture of her food. She wanted to add the picture to her summer in Israel Facebook album of course, but what American doesn’t do that?

Overall, being an American living in Tel Aviv is awesome. Everyone is so friendly and the culture is great. It will be very sad going back to the States at the end of the summer but know that hopefully one day, I will be able to return to this beautiful country I call my summer home.

11692540_4836723075760_5346677579044360713_nMy name is Roshan Promisel, and I am interning at All My Faves in Tel Aviv, Israel for the summer. I will be a senior at Pennsylvania State University this fall. I am double majoring in French and Global Studies, and am very involved in our school’s Dance MaraTHON, which is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world! This past THON, our school raised over $13 million for our Four Diamond families with kids battling pediatric cancer.

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