What Made our Trips So Unforgettable were the University Students
By Dorte Winker
In September 2015, I have been one of the luck Germans to attend the international exchange program at An-Najah University, The programme included a number of workshops and seminars to introduce the international volunteers to Palestinian political and social situations. These workshops shed light on human rights institutions in Palestine, the effects of the Israeli occupation on education, defending the threatened lands of confiscation in the city of Bethlehem and analysis of the political future of Palestine with regards to regional and world changes.
I have enjoyed all of the trips and experiences. Hebron city was the most challenging one, Palestine is different than I expected. Before I arrived here I had a lot of fears. fear that my travel probably ends on the first day at the airport, fear not to be of help for the students, fear of Palestine itself, fear of the uncertainty. But then I arrived here and I received a warm welcome, there is a well organized schedule for the whole stay.
We have experienced and learned new ideas, it feels like we are here for months not only two weeks. From trips to the old city of Nablus to Hebron, Bethlehem and Haifa, everything was well arranged and amazing, we enjoyed every second of our time, what made the trips so unforgettable, exciting, enriching and emotional; were the university students. they were so friendly, It was a pleasure listening to them. Thank you so much for sharing us your stories. You are the reason behind what makes Palestine special and great place, and why we save your country in our hearts.
I felt so happy to be so welcomed here. I was never treated the same in another country, It is sad to see that the Palestinian students are not welcome to their own country. I was so thankful to hear their testimonies, I am angry for the injustice they are experiencing.
The title of this program was "shape the future". I felt a little bit powerless to change the situation of Palestine. But I think this was also not the goal of this program. I am only a small human in the world and I cannot solve the whole problem by my own. But I can cause little changes in the minds of the people around me and with that. We, the international volunteers, can shape the future of Palestine. We can share the stories with the international community and put pressure from outside. But this will not be enough.