An Amazing, Exhausting and Very Deep Experience
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!