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By: Cilian Egle

I came to Palestine with many questions because I knew this country was suffering from the Israeli ‎occupation, but my main questions were: how can Palestinians succeed in maintaining their culture ‎and their way of life? Is there common ground between the Palestinian youth and the Western ‎youth?‎

During the exchange project I attended at An-Najah University I taught public speaking skills to ‎Palestinian students, and it was incredible to see their willingness to bring their opinion about the ‎world. They know, for example, that in western countries people have many stereotypes about ‎Palestine and Islam. Through this programme, it was very interesting for me to listen to their ‎convictions. In addition, they are committed to discovering new cultures and this is a beautiful ‎desire!‎

I really enjoyed discovering the incredible landscapes in Palestine, especially when we spent a night ‎in the desert with the Bedouins. It was an exceptional experience to admire the sunrise at the Dead ‎Sea. Besides, Jerusalem is probably the most beautiful city I have seen in my life. I particularly ‎appreciated the peaceful place of Al-Aqsa Mosque. In addition, the opportunity to visit refugee ‎camps, Hebron and the Apartheid Wall in Bethlehem was very instructive. We cannot accept the ‎situation; all of the volunteers will speak out against it in our countries in order to defend the ‎human rights of Palestinians! I discovered how Palestinian culture is the most powerful weapon ‎occupation. I like to believe that the next Intifada will be social and cultural!‎

In Palestine, food is shared and served on plates on the table: it fosters a spirit of conviviality and ‎togetherness. Then, Palestinians like to share their traditional music and to invite you to dance with ‎them! Their spirit of sharing is definitely a life lesson.‎

To conclude, I am very proud to have been part of the Zajel programme and to discover this ‎beautiful country. I will invite my friends to come here. This trip was probably one of the most ‎enriching experiences of my life: I have learned so many things here! Finally, I hope my Palestinian ‎brothers and sisters will come to France to help them discover my country and my culture!‎

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