As the internship draws to a close, it is time to reflect back on all of my experiences in Palestine. How can I possibly capture all of my thoughts, impressions and experiences inside a single blog post? The people of Palestine, my co-workers, students, and friends are all so incredibly warm and kind. The landscape of Palestine can only be described as breathtaking. My favorite past time had to be road trips between cities because it gave me a chance to look at the rolling valleys, the sprawling olive tree groves, and the mountains that cast their long shadows as the sun set. And lastly, the food here was consistently amazing with not a single disappointing meal coming to mind for the entire three-month duration of my stay. That’s not even starting to talk about the heavenly wonder that is fresh warm knafeh. I could dedicate an entire blog to any one of these topics and it still wouldn’t do them their full justice.
I’ve been considering the main things that I will tell my friends and family when I head home. I will certainly tell them that if they believed everywhere in the Middle East is hot and sunny, Palestine can quickly change that point of view if you are there in winter. But even cold rainy days have their charm here when you watch people bustling about or the children completely wrapped from head to toe paying a great homage to Randy from A Christmas Story. I’ll tell my family how on the coldest days the weather sent my students into a competition of, “I’m wearing the least layers and I’m still not cold.”
I’ll also tell people how much it was the people of TYO that made every day bright and exciting. That I was able to form good friendships with my fellow interns, teachers, and volunteers. I’ll also tell them how I had so much fun spending time with students and they were consistently the highlight of my days. However, I think that it is the teachers who were ultimately the most impactful for me. The teachers of TYO are some truly incredible people that I doubt I will ever forget. Their patience, kindness, and support helped me grow not only professionally but personally as I dealt with new challenges in the classroom. They never for a moment treated the interns simply as new coworkers, but as new friends with which to get acquainted. Outside of TYO, we went for a hike in northern Palestine with teacher Ahmad and on a shopping excursion with the female teachers. Their openness and welcoming personalities are the cornerstone of this entire internship for me.
I’ve sent friends and family dozens of pictures during my stay in Nablus, but I still wish they could see it first-hand. I hope that one day in the future, Palestine becomes an accessible destination for everyone so that they can also appreciate everything that this unique place has to offer. I am sad to leave when in many ways it feels I just started, but it always helps to know that TYO could not be left in more caring, passionate, dedicated, and talented hands.
– Tallin, Fall 2017 International Intern