Odelia O.


Program: Institute for Academic Studies

I was eighteen years old when I first arrived in Philadelphia. My experience in the ELP was beyond all my expectations: the program gave me the opportunity to meet people from around the world and to learn about their cultures, history, and traditions. My participation in the program exposed me to new adventures and helped me discover that I can always find at least one thing in common with every person I get to meet. This skill would not have been developed without encountering people from all nationalities and learning to open my mind and experience the diversity which encompasses this world.

Moreover, traveling alone and managing by myself in a foreign country at this age developed my sense of independence, responsibility, and maturity.  While studying in the program, I came across new methods of learning. For instance, the concept of presenting projects in front of the class in English every two weeks was very beneficial since today I volunteer as a tour guide in a museum. Thanks to the ELP, I have the experience of speaking in public in English. Public speaking, I believe, is an essential skill for life.

During the program, I was also exposed to working in teams which is crucial since in real life, we always work with other people. Thanks to the program I learned how to deal with group dynamics, how to compromise, and how to divide tasks among the members of the team equally.

The most enjoyable place for me at the University of Pennsylvania was the rooftop of my dorm. Every day, after my classes, I used to sit and study on the rooftop gazing over the beautiful view of Philadelphia. There I would meet many other students from the university.  My "rooftop evenings" were both educational and sociable.

After participating in the program, I decided that I want to expand this short and exceptional experience to a four-year long experience by applying to an undergraduate degree in the University of Pennsylvania.

Since I live in Israel, I am currently doing civilian service which is instead of mandatory military service. During this past year, I volunteered in a program called the Israel Government Fellows that provides internships in government offices in Israel for college graduates and in a museum where I guide in Hebrew, English, and French.  The criterion for acceptance to this position was being a native English speaker. Despite the fact that I am not a native English speaker, I applied to this position and arrived at the interview with my grades from the ELP and writing samples that I wrote for the program. Consequently, I was accepted to this position and I kept advancing in my English skills. Next year, I will start my second year of service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. My work there will be mainly in French and English, which obviously improved drastically thanks to the ELP.  My ultimate goal is to work in the future in the public sector or for a consulting company which will require the highest possible level of English.


"I learned how to deal with group dynamics, how to compromise, and how to divide tasks among the members of the team equally."