TYO Intern Alumni: Where are They Now?
The skills I learned in designing a curriculum, implementing it from start to finish, and then evaluating it were incredibly helpful for my subsequent positions that required project management experience.
From Santa Barbara, CA, Alex taught Women's Aerobics, Creative Thinking, Community English and English in Salfeet as an intern at TYO Nablus in the summer of 2011.
What was your favorite moment/story from your time with TYO?
On one scorching hot afternoon, all of the classes came together for "Water Day," which essentially turned into one giant water balloon fight. Not only did the kids absolutely LOVE soaking their teachers, our volunteers and translators also got really into it. Watching the kids chasing each other around, their gleeful shouts echoing through Khallet Al-Amood as they soaked another intern with a perfectly timed shot, reminded me of so many similar summers I had at camp. But it was amazing to see these kids, halfway around the world and coming from very difficult upbringings, enjoy this universally wonderful summer past time.
What do you miss most about TYO or Nablus?
I miss waking up to the laughter of the small children running around the building in the mornings. I miss the walk down to the juice shop on the corner and saying hi to all the people we came to know so well in the neighborhood. I miss the many calming evenings we spent on the sixth floor balcony overlooking one of the best views I've seen anywhere. I miss long drives in Munir's car as he helped me practice my Arabic phrases. And I miss how every day in Palestine there's something new, whether it be exciting or infuriating, to remind why you came there in the first place.
What have you been up to after leaving Nablus and what are your plans for the future?
I'm currently working as a Development Assistant at a non-profit in New York City called the Tanenbaum Center. Our mission is to improve interreligious understanding and promote mutual respect. We have various practical programs which we're implementing in schools, workplaces, and hospitals, both here in the U.S. and across the globe in areas of armed conflict.
How do you think TYO affected you personally and professionally?
With the encouragement of TYO, I had enough time to explore both Nablus, and eventually, other areas of Israel/Palestine. Ultimately, I felt like I wasn't done, so I found a job and ended up staying in Palestine for another year. The skills I learned in designing a curriculum, implementing it from start to finish, and then evaluating it were incredibly helpful for my subsequent positions that required project management experience. Also, the experience of working on the ground, and especially in Nablus, is a huge advantage for anyone looking to work in international development.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering applying for a TYO internship?
I wholeheartedly encourage anyone to apply, especially if you've never been to Palestine before. TYO offered me the best introduction possible to a place I might not have visited on my own. Coming from an academic background, where I had only ever studied the conflict on paper, it was an entirely different experience to learn through living it.