Leah Freedom Tower

Freedom Tower in NYC

Ever since I started at USC, I have never liked summers. Summer meant all my friends separating, working a boring job, and counting down the days until school started again. This summer, I was determined not to let that happen. I registered for Birthright (a 10-day free trip to Israel for Jewish young adults), figuring that I’d spend some time at home, go to Israel, and then head back to LA for my summer job.

Well, once I got home, I was super bored. Half for something to do and half for a way to have a more exciting summer, I applied for some internships. My hope was for one to respond right away, so that I could leave home as soon as possible, even if it meant skipping the trip to Israel. Unfortunately, no such thing happened. So just a few days before my trip, my brother and I bought tickets to New York City. We spent a week there being tourists (The Met, Central Park…) until my Israel trip left.

Leah Jaffa Sunset

Sunset in Jaffa, Israel

Israel was incredible. It looks a lot like the SoCal deserts—they’re the same latitude, roughly. I went with a group from Chicago, and between my everyday attire, the “Fight Ons” I would get from strangers (Yes, this happened multiple times even though we were halfway across the world!), and the way I grimaced when I once heard a group singing the UCLA 8-clap, everyone knew all about my USC pride.

I was so happy to return to USC after 6 weeks of being gone. I had barely unpacked my room when I got a call from one of the internships I’d looked at earlier in the summer! Without even an interview, an education nonprofit called Fresh Prep asked me to come to NYC for the rest of my summer. I was hesitant at first, but within a week of that phone call I arrived back in New York City. I worked as a media intern, and the experience was phenomenal. The workplace was laid back, supportive, highly motivated, and highly respectful. I also learned a lot about taking and editing videos, another skill I can now add to my resume.

Leah Internship Swag

Internship Swag

One Friday, I decided to go to Boston on a whim. I booked a ticket on the Greyhound, and the next day, I was off. In Boston, I had some incredible Italian food, went on a duck boat tour, saw tons of historical landmarks, visited Fenway Park, and absolutely fell in love. I can definitely see myself living in Boston one day.

I headed back to school after a summer full of surprises, adventures, and lots of learning. I can already see the effects my travels have had on my outlook toward almost everything I encounter. I only hope that my final year at USC can continue to be as eye-opening and exciting!

Leah Cheers Bar

The Famous Cheers Bar in Boston: “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”

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