TYO Intern Alumni: Where are They Now?
By far, the aspect of my experience that was most important to me and that I miss the most are the meaningful relationships I was able to build with my fellow interns, the international and Palestinian staff, volunteers, students, moms, and families.
A Westwood, MA native, Cate taught arts and crafts, women's fitness and English in the summer of 2011.
What was your favorite moment/story from your time with TYO?
There are so many moments that I carry with me from my internship at TYO. One of my favorite days was taking our girls to the pool at Hayat Nablus for the first time. Going swimming is such a rare opportunity for children in Palestine and especially for TYO’s target groups. I loved seeing my students get outside their comfort zones and watching the smiles on their faces when they learned how to float, blow bubbles, or hold their breath underwater. Even my most reserved students just seemed completely free and at ease. It was wonderful to create those memories with them.
What do you miss most about TYO or Nablus?
By far, the aspect of my experience that was most important to me and that I miss the most are the meaningful relationships I was able to build with my fellow interns, the international and Palestinian staff, volunteers, students, moms, and families. I was able to attend a wedding, visit the homes of moms in the fitness classes, and spend hours hanging out as a group with the translators at local gathering places like Sama Nablus. I think that TYO has become an invaluable part of the Nabulsi community and I loved having children and their parents recognize me and my fellow interns on the streets and share their enthusiasm for our programs.
I also miss the experiences that make up everyday life in Nablus; the sounds and smells of the markets in the Old City, spending hours on the balcony with my colleagues discussing the silly and the serious, cheering on the kids during their soccer games every Sunday afternoon, staff lunches, traveling around the country, and of course the fresh juice and knafeh.
What have you been up to after leaving Nablus and what are your plans for the future?
I am a caseworker with the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program based out of the Resettlement Support Center in Nairobi, Kenya. I currently travel around the continent interviewing refugees for resettlement to the United Stares. I have a strong interest in psychosocial health as well as human rights. I hope to combine these interests by pursuing a joint degree in law and public health in the future focusing on child protection programs.
How do you think TYO affected you personally and professionally?
As someone who had only studied this area of the world academically and who was yearning for some on the ground experience, I think the staff really did a phenomenal job in introducing me to the every day challenges facing Palestinian families. I will never forget walking through the narrow alley ways of Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus or learning about the uniquely difficult circumstances facing children in a city like Hebron.
Professionally, I loved that at TYO interns are very much treated like entry-level employees and their work is highly valued. I further built upon skills like program management, attention to detail, creativity, and monitoring and evaluation that I can apply to any position in the future. Furthermore, my internship cemented my passion for working in partnership with refugee children and families. I was able to learn more about the complexity of their needs and the type of holistic community-based models that can be used to address them.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering applying for a TYO internship?
Take it all in! This internship is an incredibly unique, demanding, and special experience. I think it's really important to not only try to immerse yourself in all things TYO and Nablus, but also to take the time to reflect about your experiences. They are truly life-changing!