جامعة النجاح الوطنية
An-Najah National University

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I will try to be the more concise as possible but it might be difficult to resume all I think about ‎this experience and all the emotions I have passed through. I can simply say that this trip was ‎maybe the best trip I have ever done as it is for sure the richest.‎

By: Fanny – France

I know Palestine through the conflict that I studied and I keep following in the news. The reason ‎why I chose Palestine for my volunteering was just as simple as the fact that I wanted to see ‎with my own eyes how do the occupation looks like on the field, and how do Palestinian people ‎live with it. So what have been so amazing for me was the discovery of the real Palestine, I ‎mean what truly happens in Palestine, how does the country looks like, how are the people, how ‎does the Israeli occupation affects their life and at what point, what do they think about this ‎tragedy… all the things we cannot rely on the media to provide. I really appreciated the accent ‎put on the political situation during the trip, through the daily activities or excursions: the visit ‎of a refugee camp where we met children attending school and an old lady who was ten during ‎the Nakba of 1948, the exchange on the political question of the occupation with a doctor of the ‎university, the visit of Bethlehem and Hebron cities, and so on. It was all the more appreciable ‎that we could feel a true effort to present the situation remaining as neutral and factual as ‎possible.‎

Another point which makes this trip so amazing is the beauty of Palestine. The places we ‎visited were genuine and wonderful. Among all the places I passed through, I would quote of ‎course the night in the desert and the sunrise above the Dead Sea, which was an unforgettable ‎moment of peace and serenity, far away from the excitation of my daily life in Europe. I would ‎also quote the visit of the historical center of Bethlehem, the visit of Sabastya village and its ‎awesome lunch at the restaurant, Nablus and its charming old city where we had a wonderful ‎dinner on the rooftop of the restaurant, and I cannot forget its university with its very modern ‎and attractive new campus. All these places and the moment we shared there made me enjoying ‎Palestine. I am really sad to have missed the excursion at Jericho. But actually it is just a reason ‎for coming back!‎

Eventually the thing which most struck me during this trip is the people I met, either students ‎or not students. I have never been in a country where people are so welcoming and ready to help ‎foreigners. I have never been in a country where people have such a hard past and accept to talk ‎about it with me whereas we have been knowing each other for a few days or even minutes. ‎Since the first time I stepped in Palestine on the 1st of July, I have been feeling myself safe, ‎comfortable and at home. Zajel students try and succeed in making their best to welcome the ‎international volunteers and have them feeling as well in Nablus as in their home country, ‎whatever their age, their nationality or the language barrier. We assumed that such an ‎organization must have been exhausting, but the students always keep smiling and engaging a ‎conversation. Moreover, we were never alone. From the morning to the evening, students were ‎here to escort us, to answer our questions and complete our request. Having a trip in these ‎conditions allows to appreciate the situation all the more. We have never missed food neither ‎water, and everything we needed was available in the following hours. And I also truly believe ‎that being able to exchange so much with the students allows us to understand the country, its ‎history, and its forthcoming challenges. It was really a chance to have the opportunity to ‎exchange with such ease and proximity with local students.‎

The most difficult for me was the workshops. I applied for this camp with the aim to have a ‎volunteering experience. I had never thought to be a teacher as I am still a student and I had ‎never taught before. But when I arrived at the university, I was asked to lead the ice braking ‎workshop with English beginners. But I was helped to design my first course and it went well. I ‎really want to emphasize the role my wonderful coordinators of Zajel played during the ‎workshops. They were very involved and supported me a lot, that helped me to feel more ‎comfortable. I hope the students were happy with the workshops, in any case they cooperated ‎and in that way they made each session more dynamic and more fun. Eventually, I am proud of ‎having been able to face this challenge and this experience of teaching has been really ‎enriching.‎

I would like to say so much about this trip but I have to end my report. I really want to ‎congratulate all the team of Zajel Program, the workshops coordinators, the students of my ‎workshops, all the people we met during the daily activities and excursions and who were so ‎interesting, the bus driver, without forgetting the other international volunteers with whom I ‎shared this unforgettable experience! Thank you all!‎

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