The Blog

Volunteer Internship

Julia Swirsky

Julia Swirsky

My name is Julia and I am from Toronto, Canada. I always knew that I would spend an extended period of time in Israel, and since I am a recent university graduate, taking this time to get meaningful work experience was the best choice for me. With WIZO, I got what I was seeking and more! Previous to interning here, I did not know much about WIZO, but I was drawn to them because of what they stand for. Two of my core values are Zionism and feminism and I am strongly connected to both of those aspects of my identity. Interning at the Women’s International Zionist Organization seemed meant to be.

Working in fundraising in the external relations division was a great learning opportunity and perfect for my first “real” position post-graduation. Interning here exposed me to the day-to-day work at a non-profit, and being a part of the external relations division showed me how fundraising works on a global level. Going into the office every day, I was treated like an employee, being able to sit in on meetings and contribute ideas for the projects I worked on. Working under and in collaboration with Annette was wonderful. She nurtured my understanding of how to work in the non-profit sector and acted as a mentor, but she also treated me as her equal and gave me assignments which were at the level of a regular WIZO staff member.

Out of all the great work I got to be a part of, the highlights were the site visits. As a representative of World WIZO, I was able to go independently with the other interns to interview people and write pieces, to sit in on meetings and tours, and to attend inauguration ceremonies and school graduations. Seeing firsthand what goes on in the field opened my eyes to the vital work WIZO does for Israeli citizens. Even though I had visited Israel before, I only knew it in the context of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. WIZO brought me to visit youth villages, day care centers, senior homes, and community centers all over Israel, including in Beer Sheva, Rishon LeZion, Petach Tikvah, Haifa, and Hadera. This opened my eyes to the real struggles in Israeli society, and the immense work WIZO does to support the most vulnerable populations. Meeting many Israelis with diverse backgrounds painted a more accurate picture of Israel’s microlevel problems. I now know how important WIZO is for the success of the next generation of Israelis.

I am connected to WIZO for life and am excited to see how I can continue to be involved from Canada!