TYO Intern Alumni: Where are They Now?
It was my feeling of connectedness to Nabulsi society on a personal level - thanks to TYO - that gave me the renewed impetus to continue my engagement with the region on an academic and professional level.
A native of the Washington DC area, Julie taught dance for girls, women's aerobics and conversational English for medical students in the fall of 2010.
What was your favorite moment/story from your time with TYO?
The girls from my dance class performed hip hop routines for a final performance and then each took turns performing improvised belly-dancing solos in front of our audience. I did not expect to reach 100% participation in the solos, because I had always had one or two girls decline to take part out of shyness when we did the same activity in class, but much to my surprise, every girl in the class, without a single exception, stepped forward to take her turn in the spotlight!
What do you miss most about TYO or Nablus?
The thing I have missed most is the sense of community that TYO creates in Nablus, although I was fortunate enough to return for a visit a few months ago and be reminded of the strong bond that TYO creates between the people it brings together. Several of my former classroom volunteers and of one of the FWEN participants hosted me in their homes, and nowhere else in the world have I ever found such all-embracing hospitality as I have with my Palestinian peers from TYO and their families.
What have you been up to after leaving Nablus and what are your plans for the future?
I am currently completing an intensive full-year Arabic language fellowship program at the American University in Cairo and will be returning to Washington, DC to mentor visiting Middle Eastern and North African university students through the Middle Eastern Partnership Initiative (MEPI) before pursuing an MA in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall.
How do you think TYO affected you personally and professionally?
My time at TYO marked my first experience living and working in the Middle East, so it was in many ways a necessary culmination of my undergraduate studies as a Middle East Studies major. Yet it was my feeling of connectedness to Nabulsi society on a personal level - thanks to TYO - that gave me the renewed impetus to continue my engagement with the region on an academic and professional level.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering applying for a TYO internship?
Do it! One of the best aspects of the TYO internship is that it draws upon so many different skill sets, from teaching to blogging to logistics management. It is also an incredibly transformative experience both personally and professionally.