TYO Intern Alumni: Where are They Now?

Aimee Allen

Be prepared to fall in love with the kids who come to your classes. You will never forget their faces or their stories.

A LeRoy, MI native, Andrew taught Art, Women's Fitness and Community English as an intern in the Fall of 2011.

What was your favorite moment/story from your time with TYO?

One of my favorite moments was taking the kids on a field trip to the Qalqiliya Zoo at the end of the fall semester. Many of the kids had never been to a zoo before, so it was special to see them excited about the animals. Sohaib, one of my students, turned out to be the best bus seat partner ever. He had everyone in stitches laughing at his jokes. It was interesting to have the student teacher role reversed when Sohaib taught me the Arabic lyrics to a song he learned in music class. I kept forgetting or mispronouncing the words, but he was gracious and patient, managing to teach me at least one stanza of the song.

Participating in the olive harvest and sharing meals with Palestinian families were also special moments for me.

What do you miss most about TYO or Nablus?

I miss the camaraderie I shared with my fellow interns, taxi rides with Munir to the local grocer, getting messy in art class, the passion and enthusiasm of TYO's staff and volunteers, breaking a sweat to Shakira music with the women in fitness class, and the never-ending hospitality of the Palestinian people. Most of all, I miss the kids. They challenged me and made me laugh everyday.

What have you been up to after leaving Nablus and what are your plans for the future?

I'm in my third summer teaching in Michigan with a national literacy program. I teach phonics, reading comprehension, and critical thinking skills to pre-kindergarden through adult age students. Looking to the future, I am applying to the Peace Corps to gain more experience in international development.

How do you think TYO affected you personally and professionally?

At TYO I discovered how much I love non-formal education. The core subjects a child learns in school doesn't provide the same opportunities for imagination and self expression that an art or music class does. Teaching a class that allowed students to explore their creativity and gain confidence was incredible.

Do you have any advice for anyone considering applying for a TYO internship?

If you intern at TYO, be prepared to fall in love with the kids who come to your classes. You will never forget their faces or their stories.