Posts in STEP! II
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
Humans of Nablus 37

My favorite thing to do in Nablus is to study English. I plan to travel abroad one day to build bridges with the international community through the English language. With the relationships I build abroad I hope to bring financial resources to my community as well as emotional support.  From this kind of support I want to improve housing for people living in poverty.

Read More
How Far We Have Come!

Eight weeks of STEP! II EFL program passed us by so quickly! The first day of classes began with students quietly introducing themselves and trying their best to figure out what the teacher was saying in English so quickly. As the weeks passed, everyone became increasingly comfortable and with that the students began to develop in their confidence. Throughout the first five weeks of class, we played volleyball as a group daily during class breaks and through this a level of comfort developed within the group and this translated well in the classroom.

Read More
Humans of Nablus 36

I really enjoy studying languages. I recently started learning how to play the guitar with one of TYO’s teachers. I was amazed by how learning music feels like learning another language. You need only learn certain sounds, symbols and patterns and how to put them together. Now I’m starting to play songs in English, and I’m excited to become even better in the language.

Read More
Fostering a Brave Space

At the door of TYO, students can either leave their external feelings or share their sentiments and be welcomed into the community. As an educational and psycho-social organization, the staff at TYO inherently cares for the holistic care of every student.

In order to ensure the comprehensive care of every student, the staff and volunteers uphold that TYO is neither a religious nor a political space, but rather the space for empowerment and self-fulfillment. At times, however, this is easier said than done.

Read More
Fairuz in the Morning, Frank Sinatra in the Evening

Music is a powerful and positive force that connects people of different ages, backgrounds, and cultures. Recent Nobel Prize laureate Bob Dylan, Adele, Ravi Shankar, Edith Piaf, Tom Jobim, and Sakamoto, among so many others, have enchanted audiences around the world regardless of their ethnicity, race, and native language. “Music is the universal language of mankind,” once said American poet Henry Longfellow.

Read More
Humans of Nablus 34

I love to work with children, especially in the most under-served communities. I want to be there to support those in need when I can. Working with children is a beautiful thing. You can teach children many things and work with so many different personalities. I believe that we can solve so many problems in our society by starting with them. This to me is a wonderful process.

Read More
From China to Palestine: An Unexpected Journey

Life called me to TYO as I finished up my experience working with Peace Corps in China. I was drawn to the fellowship position as it combined both of my passions: education and experiencing the cultures of the world. As the taxi brought me into Nablus for my first time the wind was blowing into the car and the call to prayer began as it was 5:00 in the morning. All I can remember is an overwhelming feeling that once again life had brought me to the exact place I needed to be.

Read More
Humans of Nablus 31

In my English classes, I am using the language to talk about my family and my community, and also to learn about important musicians from the United States and Europe. As a singer and guitar player, it is great to be able to understand what they are saying. I’m sure that my time at TYO improving my English and meeting new people will be important for me in order to achieve my goal.

Read More
Learning by Choice: The Success Story of Obaida Bani Odeh

Obaida is from Tammoun, a village between Jenin and Nablus. She is a recent graduate from Al Quds Open University in Tubas where she studied finance and banking administration. She has been a volunteer with the After-School Academic Support program and a student in the STEP! II EFL program since October 2016. Obaida is enjoying the experience greatly and is sad she did not learn about the organization before fall 2016.

Read More
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.”

Read More
Humans of Nablus 30

Education is so important. We need education so that we can develop ourselves and develop our country, and also because education really helps people.  I love working with the little children, but it can be hard.  In the beginning, they always started to cry, and it can be hard to control them, but we try.  We try to hold them and be soft to them.  And we succeed!  My best memory of playing with them is when we went outside with another class and played football with my class against his.  My team won!

Read More
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.  

Read More
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.

Read More
Humans of Nablus 28

I have realized that education is the greatest method for achieving understanding. I hope to become a physician in the future because I believe that through medicine I will be able to connect to the world. By speaking English fluently, I will connect with a greater pool of scientists and maybe they will be able to come to Palestine, meet Palestinian physicians, and create and teach projects.

Read More