I went for an interview today for an internship possibility for my conflict management course. Details about the interview and the internship itself aside… I walked away from the experience with a totally separate outlook.
After we established that I could give the internship a shot – it’s an intense task, in short organizing mediators and vaad bayit type bodies for buildings with mainly Ethiopian immigrants – my interviewer wondered aloud if my Hebrew would be a problem.
She explained that because they are Ethiopian immigrants, the non-Israeli Hebrew along with the non-Israeli accent might make it more difficult for them than it has to be. She also considered the culture clash of what type of immigrant I am.
Instead of feeling insulted, I felt relieved. I feel like no one ever acknowledges the fact that, yes, I can speak, but yes, I have an accent and my grammar is not nearly perfect. I’m either told my Hebrew is amazing and I shouldn’t worry or I have to endure the person switching to broken English, thinking it would help me. Both frustrate me because I know I can speak, and I can communicate; I can tell a story… but I’m also realistic about knowing it’s not perfect.
The acknowledgment took pressure off me; I think it was pressure I never knew I actually had. I appreciated the honesty and I’m looking forward to trying the internship or moving on to get to the point where I need to be.