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The Hardest Things about Moving to Israel from America

In this short article, I’m going to cover the three hardest things that I experienced moving to Israel from America.  Reading this will help you if you are considering moving to Israel, or if you have just moved here.  So, let’s get into it!

Culture Shock Part One:

I’m from Los Angeles, California and we are notorious for being chilled out, casual, and laid-back in every sense of the word.  In Israel, things are much different.

Israeli energy is uptight, and much more stressful.

It makes sense because surrounding Israel, are a bunch of countries that declared (in the global arena) that they hate Israel, and don’t want to Israel to exist.

Another reason for this sense of pressurization in the country is that most of the civilians served in the military.  And a heavily militarized-minded population will not create a laid-back type of personality.

Culture Shock Part Two:

In Israel, there are a lot of Jewish people… obviously.  If you have any knowledge of Judaism, you know that there are many sects of Jews.

I grew up in California where basically, you don’t see any religious people…or if you do, it’s not really something that you can see clearly.

Here is something that I was completely unaware of:  These different sects wear different outfits/uniforms.  Different hats, different kippahs, and different clothes. 

When you’re going throughout Israel, you see a large amount of these various sects of religious people.  This was completely foreign and new to me was I first moved here from the United States.

Culture Shock Part Three:  The final element of culture shock that I experienced was the six-day work week (technically five and a half days) in Israel.

Here is the way it works:  First of all, Sunday is the 1st day of the week, you will work a regular full day on Sunday.  So, Sunday to Thursday are full working days.

However, Friday is a half day.  It is a half day because when the sun goes down, it is the beginning of the Sabbath.  So in Israel, everyone gets off early (around 3pm) on Friday.

Therefore, the second half of the day on Friday’s and the full day off on Saturday’s are the “days off”.  Every other day of the week, the country is fully functioning and everybody is typically working.

Another Hard Thing about Moving to Israel from America…

The second and obvious thing that I experienced when I moved to Israel from the U.S. is that I did not speak Hebrew!  🙂

Luckily, when I first moved here I had some money saved and I was able to pay to go to Ulpan.  “Ulpan” is a place where you go to learn Hebrew, and there are many of these schools across Israel.

There is a lot of slang, and many expressions that you won’t learn in Ulpan.

A nice thing is that you can go to Ulpan full-time or part-time based on your availability… but keep in mind that the Hebrew spoken on the street is much different from what you might learn in these schools.

Side Note:

Something else that was somewhat difficult for me when I moved here is the experience going into grocery stores.  In Israel, the grocery stores have a limited selection of things to choose from compared to in the US.

For example, if you go into an American grocery store you will have about sixty types of soda to choose from.  In Israel, divide that number by about 10.

This is just an example of soda beverages, but it expands all the way across the spectrum of items in grocery stores. 

The amount of items you have to choose from is much, much smaller.

The Third and Final Thing that was Hard about Moving to Israel from America…When I first moved to Israel I lived in Tel Aviv, and the cost of living in Tel Aviv, Israel is high! 

You can go online and see that Tel Aviv is one of the most expensive cities to  in the world to live in.

So, if you have a regular job with a regular salary (8k -10k NIS per/month) you may find yourself struggling financially.  I recommend that when you first move to Israel, and if you don’t have a large amount of money saved…  if you are on a budget don’t try to move to Tel Aviv.

In conclusion:

Come on over to Israel for a visit, and if you fall in love come on over to live.

This was just a short summary of my experience, and all of the things that I mentioned above will seem normal to you after a while.  You will normalize. 

That’s how life works.

Whenever you experience something new, your system is shocked at first.  You will eventually get used to it.  Moreover, Israel is an interesting place to live!

About the creator of Hardest Things about Moving to Israel from America

My name is Claude Lee Massey, I’ve been living in Tel Aviv for 10+ years… and what an adventure it has been!  I remember the day I arrived in Israel, I had NO money – NO friends – and NO job.  So, how exactly did I become a life coach and career counselor in Tel Aviv, Israel?

Here is my story…

About five years ago (after 15+ years of soul-searching), I had a realization:  That I was put here on this planet to teach and to share the knowledge I have.  Along with that powerful revelation, I had a powerful insight: “I want to open my own consulting business”.

As the start-up capital of the world, Israel has plenty of new companies with growing English speaking sales teams.  Therefore, with my 15+ years of experience in the field of sales, I decided to open a sales training/consulting company.

I never thought that I would open my own business in Israel…but I did!

At once, I went to an accountant to file the proper paperwork to legally operate my NEW sales consulting company.  Afterwards, I began to use all of my spare time (at this point I had a full-time job for a high-tech company) after work and before work creating materials and trying to acquire clients.

Most importantly, I knew what I had to do and whom I wanted to target. 

SalesDevelopmentIsrael.comI started cold calling companies in Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Ramat Gan, Jerusalem, Bat Yam, and Holon.  Moreover, I was working like a madman.  I was sending emails and doing everything in my power to try to generate momentum in my business. 

It was, and is brutal being an entrepreneur, but great news!  I was able to find my first few clients!

Something I immediately noticed, was at the conclusion of my sales training workshops (where I focused on selling through telling stories, and teaching specific sales techniques), two things would happen consistently happen:

Firstly, I would receive feedback that the sales training workshop provided massive value.  Secondly, one or two of the students in the course would privately approach me. 

They would speak with me about their struggles, not only in sales but also in life.

Then one time, a female student offered to pay me for a one-on-one sit down session outside of the office.  She asked me to help her figure out a better career path.  As a struggling entrepreneur, I accepted.  

Another student, at another company, approached me and offered to pay me for my time to help prepare him for a job interview.  Yes, he was planning to leave the sales job that he was at.

Similarly, another student from another workshop, at another company me to help them work with their confidence and being able to communicate efficiently.  This would happen again, and again…

Each person with his or her own challenge.  They knew I was not certified or professionally trained.  Still, they would approach me and offer to pay me for my time.

To sit with them and help figure things out, and to give them my guidance.  These first clients called me their “Life Coach” or “Career Counselor“.

Moreover, I was able to help them!  At the conclusion of our 3 to 5 one-on-one sessions, they each had taken took massive steps forward towards the results they wanted.

Eventually, enough people paid me to sit down with them, and called me their Career Counselor or Life Coach… that I began to call myself a “Career Counselor” and ”Life Coach”.

Most people set out to become a trained and certified life coach or career counselor before ever having a client.  However, I never said I wanted to be a life coach or a career counselor,

This interesting and fulfilling profession came to me, literally.

And that is the super-short story of how I began life coaching and career counseling in Tel Aviv Israel.

Now 5 years later, I can say that I’m happy to say I have helped thousands of people just like you.

<—  Contact Me Today for a FREE consultation  —>

 Phone: +972-052-413-5562



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Hardest Things about Moving to Israel from America – Claude Lee Massey – Life Coach and Career Counseling in Tel Aviv Israel