I've lived here far too long.
February 23, 2011 8:05 PM   Subscribe

What should I do this summer? I have four months, no job, little money, a beat-up car, and I live at home. I'm a twenty year old female. Points for recommending free Judaism classes.

So, I just realized that I will have about four months starting in May with nothing to do. I'm in school now, and I will be transferring to a four-year school in the fall.

Realistically, I probably won't be getting a job, just because there will be about 5,000 other students looking for jobs at the same time (southwest Virginia).

My mom just told me she might pay for Hebrew camp, which got me thinking. Maybe I should go away for the summer. I'd like to take a class, but I can't really find anything. I'm mostly interested in Jewish stuff, because I'm converting, and hopefully I will be accepted to a certain school in New York (and if I am, I'll have to learn a lot of Talmud this summer just to keep up).

I'm interested in Middlebury's 7-week Language School (Hebrew camp), but I might be too late for financial aid, and I'd need three recommendations.

I also think something like Drisha in New York City would be interesting; it's five weeks long, but I don't think they have housing and I can't pay to live in New York for five weeks.

Otherwise, I can't really think of anything. Internships? Stay home? Learn to love knitting? If I stay here, I'm planning on finding my way to the morning minyan (but seriously that only lasts an hour, then what?), or volunteer, but again that won't take up my every day. I'm too old, not outgoing enough, and not Jewish enough for Jewish camp. Also, unfortunately I can't just take classes at my college this summer because I just applied for graduation and so obviously they won't give me financial aid this summer.

I don't want to do anything too radical like Couchsurfing or WWOOF, just because I'm not the young vagabond I once was.

PS Just telling me what you do with your vacations would be great, too.
posted by lhude sing cuccu to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you how I spent my vacation.

I went visiting, with my four months off...started off zooming to Texas to a farm where my college roommate was staying, moved on to Missouri and my grandparents, flew to California and a Tall Ship where I volunteered for a month (friends of friends), traveled to Arizona to intern at an outdoor school (more friends of friends). As a data point, I am a 20-something female. It has been a great four months, and I haven't ever had to step outside my comfort zone--they were all newish situations, but they were people I loved, or people that came highly recommended, and it was all free, except for travel.
posted by grinagog at 8:15 PM on February 23, 2011

Kibbutz? You're the right age, they'll take non-Jews, and other than airfare it would be next to free. You would, of course, get a good chance to practice your Hebrew.
posted by holterbarbour at 8:19 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

You might look into being a counselor at a Jewish camp for kids. Get paid, get away, be surrounded by Judaism all summer.
posted by geegollygosh at 8:26 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think you can get a free trip including airfare and stay to Israel with Birthright Israel if you've converted...
posted by shivohum at 8:41 PM on February 23, 2011

Some friends of mine who had converted Conservative qualified for Birthright and thoroughly enjoyed it. But I think one will at least have to convert something in order to qualify.... I don't think the OP is quite there yet.
posted by holterbarbour at 8:43 PM on February 23, 2011

Dittoing the idea of serving as a counselor at a Jewish summer camp. There are TONS of them. Start looking either at the movement-sponsored camps of your choice, or go here.

Are you committed to staying in the States? If not, you can go to Israel and study Hebrew in an ulpan, do a Volunteers for Israel program, or participate in one of the outstanding programs offered by the Shalom Hartman Institute (both in North America and in Israel).

Are you interested in sustainable agriculture? How about something with the Jewish Farm School?

Interested in Holocaust studies? How about this summer institute?

Want to improve your text and spirituality skills and literacy? Try the outstanding summer program at Yeshivat Hadar (where they will, btw, give you a stipend for living expenses in New York).

Enjoy - this is an awesome opportunity!
posted by AngerBoy at 8:47 PM on February 23, 2011

Colorado or Appalachian trail.
posted by H. Roark at 10:01 PM on February 23, 2011

Hadar requires a certain level of Hebrew, and the Drisha summer programs might. Don't rule them out though, they may be able to help with a stipend.

But I definitely recommend working at a Jewish summer camp. Probably a camp belonging to the movement that you're converting with, since your Rabbi would be a good reference. I can't begin to tell you how much I learned over a couple of summers working at Camp Ramah. (And of course, not just about Judaism but about myself, kids, peers, etc). It's busy, absorbing, productive, and educational.

If not that, then there are kibbutz/ulpan programs in Israel where you can also learn Hebrew. I don't think they're free but they're very cheap.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:04 AM on February 24, 2011

Offbeat, but if you're technically minded at all, consider Google Summer of Code.
posted by brainwane at 7:14 AM on February 24, 2011

You should at least try to get a job or internship (ideally it would be relevant to your pursuits with Judiasm). If you think getting a summer job now is unrealistic because "there will be about 5,000 other students looking for jobs at the same time" then wait till you actually need to find a job upon completeion of your degree when there will be about 5 million other students looking for jobs...
posted by WeekendJen at 9:50 AM on February 24, 2011

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