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I really enjoyed my time at Zajel at An-Najah University. Beside the interesting workshops, I feel ‎happy thinking back to the wonderful trips we took and to the amazing people I met there. For my ‎throwback about my exchange in Nablus, Palestine, I would like to separate my reflections in the ‎following three parts: University, people and the region itself.‎

By: Markus Streller

First of all, we, the international volunteers, had a teaching function. We had the opportunity to ‎hold lectures in our chosen fields. We gave workshops with topics such as public speaking in ‎English, the Italian language and cultural or social media competencies. It was a pleasure to prepare ‎and hold our workshops to such motivated and demanding students. Furthermore, we had a couple ‎of lectures from local scholars. The topics mostly focused on the life and situation in Palestine. ‎While having a great range of topics discussed here, I learned a lot about the local culture and ‎situation.‎

Secondly, I met great people. Having a bunch of motivated volunteers from around the world, we ‎quickly became a group of friends and the work became more and more pleasant. Also, because we ‎were living in shared flats, we had the space and time to get to know each other pretty well. ‎Working with the local volunteers turned out to be a pleasure as well. From the very first moments, ‎the local students became friends and guides at the same time. Not only did they provide us with ‎water and translation, they also invited us to their houses or showed us their city. This is how I ‎learned how important hospitality is in Palestinian culture.‎

Thirdly, I feel like I know a big part of the region. We made trips to Hebron, the desert, the Dead ‎Sea, Jenin District, etc. One can surely say that we have seen lots of different places around here, ‎experienced different tastes and seen different sides of the landscapes, cities and villages, the ‎religious and the political areas. I feel like I know these stunning places now.‎

But one should not spare out the criticism: the time in Nablus flew really fast, which sometimes ‎lead to a kind of tiredness. This was mostly due to the sometimes chaotic organization, to which ‎Europeans generally are not used to.‎

Concluding, one has to say that the time at Zajel Program was an amazing, exhausting and very ‎deep experience, from which I learned lots about myself and the world. Therefore, I want to thank ‎all the people who made it possible. Shukran!‎

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