Posts tagged international internship program
Brewing Friendships

I don’t even know where to start. I have learnt and felt so much since being in Nablus, that summing it all up in a few simple words feels like an impossible task. So, I’m going to do it in the most British way I know how – through tea.

At home, tea is a focal point in many situations. When you visit a relative, there is an offer of tea. When you’re stressed at work, there is an offer of tea. Whether you’ve had a bad day, or are sharing good news, there is always the supportive response of, “Would you like some tea?” I didn’t realise just how embedded in me this ‘tea culture’ was until I arrived in Nablus.

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All the Good in Goodbye

As the internship draws to a close, it is time to reflect back on all of my experiences in Palestine. How can I possibly capture all of my thoughts, impressions and experiences inside a single blog post? The people of Palestine, my co-workers, students, and friends are all so incredibly warm and kind. The landscape of Palestine can only be described as breathtaking. My favorite past time had to be road trips between cities because it gave me a chance to look at the rolling valleys, the sprawling olive tree groves, and the mountains that cast their long shadows as the sun set.

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Random Acts of Kindness

There are many experiences that I could highlight as my time at TYO ends. I could talk about the joy of watching children discover their potential. I could talk about the teachers and the unfailing support they have given me. I could talk about local culture and opportunities I have had to witness how Nabulsis live, interact, and view the world. The common threads uniting all of these experiences, however, are the random acts of kindness that I have experienced since I arrived.

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Nablus: A Hidden Paradise

One of my favorite new Arabic words that I’ve learned in Nablus is bejannan. A local staff member at TYO translated this word to me as a descriptor for something so overwhelmingly beautiful that it incites madness in onlookers. When I think of Nablus, I think, “Bejannan.” There is so much beauty in this city— in its people, in its landscape, in the rich culture of Palestinians—and TYO will always hold a special place in my heart for giving me the opportunity to be here.

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Goodbye Nablus, at Least for Now

Being assigned to write a blog regarding my experiences here in Palestine is something which I find to be deceiving in its façade of simplicity. How to encapsulate three busy and complex months’ worth of adventures and thoughts so abstract from my daily life at home in a way that conveys the true process and learning that I have had is difficult. Reflecting on being an intern at TYO is like rapidly flicking through a photo album without a pause for thought

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Oh, the Knafeh!

I have lived in this region before, but moved back to America for about two years.  In that time, I hadn’t returned, but coming to TYO I felt like I was returning to a second home.  Though I have visited Nablus and lived in the region before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Two years is just long enough for everything and nothing to change at the same time.

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A Home Away From Home, But With More Hummus

So, where to start? Nablus, here I am. It’s almost as if I have been dropped here from the sky like the human icon from Google Maps is, straight from Western Europe but naturally without the dragging aspect. At first glance, Nablus is almost like a scene from a movie, a Hollywood blockbuster where white ajnabi (foreigners) visit a distant land in the East, shrouded in mystery which is heightened by a rich culture and unique attire.

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Traveling Through Palestine

As I finish my time at TYO, I am reminded of the fun times I had with my thoughtful students and the locals I encountered throughout my travels. During my time in Palestine, I had the opportunity to travel throughout the country and meet people from all Palestine. Not only was my time here impacted by the local staff and students, but also by people I met throughout my travels.

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Farewell to Gerizim and Ebal

In his novel, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” Milan Kundera writes, “The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful.” As I say farewell to Nablus and to Palestine, I think of the many people I met who charmed and touched me. They are too many to be named. Thus, when I say farewell to Nablus and to Palestine, I think of Gerizim and Ebal, for they represent each of those people and each of those moments.

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From the Warmth of Palestine Back to the New England Cold

As I get ready to return to bitter, frozen New England (in both senses of both words), I, like all of the fellows, am reflecting on my time here in Nablus.  Waking up to the sight of Dunkin’ Donuts and snow up to my waist will be an unfortunate change from the view of the Nabulsi mountains from my very window.  While I will obviously miss the beautiful vistas of Palestine, and the amazing knafah, it is my students that I will miss the most.

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I Respect Myself: A Safe Space for Self-Empowerment

respect -(ri-spekt)- the esteem for a sense of the worth or excellence of a person

Almost 15 years ago, I worked at  a youth theater arts summer camp. I joined the staff as an assistant teacher just for the summer not knowing about the existing programs and routines. One of the things that I noticed was that they had this unique ritual everyday of saying a password. The password could be anything of the students and staff’s combined choosing. However, there was one strict requirement.

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Living Through Life's Questions

As poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke says, “Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

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What Do an Island and the Letter 'T' Have in Common?

People often say that jokes are the most difficult thing to translate.  While this can sometimes be  true, joking can actually transcend language barriers.  It’s also a good way to trick people into learning a language.  Comedy is a great way to learn a language, or really anything for that matter.  

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Shared Excitement and a Hunger to Learn

Language education on the global scale becomes of greater importance everyday. With expanding communities through social media, sometimes language is the only barrier that separates human beings and ideas. Upon my arrival to Nablus, I felt a sincere interest and urgency in learning the local Arabic dialect from the most simple of phrases regarding food or directions to more complex vocabulary surrounding the history and culture of the Nabulsi people. Entering Nablus and jointing the TYO team as an EFL fellow, I was especially interested to know and understand the language of my incoming students.

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The Power of Teaching: A Gift That Gives Years Later

As a child growing up in New York City enrolled in the public school system, I changed schools at every level of education (i.e. Elementary, Middle and High school). This meant I sat in the classrooms of upwards of 50 different teachers. Some of these teachers I liked, while some less so. Then there were some who changed my life. The most prominent being my high school Global History teacher, Mr. Moscow.

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Life May Not Always Be a Party, But While Here, Let's Dance... Dabka!

Life for a vast number of human beings all over the world may not be the party they hoped for. The road to success is wild, unexpected and plenty of obstacles to overcome. My Colombian compatriots, just like my new Palestinian friends here at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, understand the meaning of being challenged by life day in and day out and this is why I believe we connected from the very beginning. Since the moment I arrived in Nablus, I got enchanted by the smiles and energy of the people, their kindness and their powerful will to help each other.

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The Power of the Student

After classes let out on the last day of summer EFL classes at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, I went back to sit in my classroom. For eight weeks I’d led a class of amazing, strong women and earlier in the day I’d watched as they recited poetry, did a powerful skit, and gave a speech on women’s rights. Afterward, we played Apples to Apples and said our goodbyes. And there I was again.

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