Local Students Embarking on Their Global Journey

Take a minute and put yourself in the shoes of a typical university student anywhere in the United States. You’ve just arrived for your 8:00am Intro to Philosophy class on an icy February morning (I know this is painful just thinking about it, but stick with me). You sit down, take off your gloves, and immediately start nursing your coffee thermos when you remember what today is. It’s the first day since the university-wide curriculum change went into effect and from this point forward your courses will all be taught entirely in Arabic. Uh-oh! And you thought only hitting the snooze three times this morning was going to be the hardest part of today! An-Najah National University students presenting their work after completing a group writing assignment.

For the 22,000+ students at An-Najah National University, this isn’t too far from their reality. The university has recently made the decision to modify all their courses to be taught only in English, a language only a few students have truly mastered here in Nablus. Students seem to have really kicked themselves into high gear when it comes to improving their English skills and as a TYO intern, I have the opportunity to help them along this journey. After my eight-week intermediate level English and professional competency course, my students will walk away with a tighter grasp on conversational English and an improved understanding of professional communication as it pertains to their academic success at An-Najah University.

As I grow to know the 25 students I’ll be working with over the coming weeks, it is evident that they’ve all been making exciting plans for their futures. Many of them aspire to become engineers, professors, writers, and even translators. And it isn’t uncommon to hear from a student that they plan to continue their education in either the United States or the United Kingdom with the goal of eventually returning to Palestine to work in their home communities. Unfortunately, one of the things holding these students back from becoming students abroad is their ability to communicate academically and professionally using English.  Through the combination of this course and their internal motivation to master a new language I hope these students can cross the great divide from being local students to global students and eventually identifying as global citizens.

- Emily

Emily is an intern in TYO Nablus.