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I am Saioa, a volunteer of the International Youth Exchange Program (Zajel) at An-‎Najah National University and I've been to Palestine for two amazing weeks.‎

By: Saioa - Basque country

During my stay, I've met lots of interesting people and I've been treated extremely well. ‎I had the opportunity to study the Palestinian conflict when I was in high school and I ‎really felt that I had the need to visit this country someday. So when I found Zajel ‎Program I didn't think twice, I applied and I was excited to come.‎

When I arrived everything seemed new to me, but now, feels like I've been here for ‎almost 3 years, and that makes me happy because it means that I've had a great time ‎here.‎

We have visited lots of Palestinian cities, such as Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem, ‎Sabastia, etc. and knew about the political situation; I was surprised when I first saw the ‎wall and the settlements. I was happy to see how Palestinians fight everyday just by not ‎giving up on their lands and cities, I saw dignity in all the Palestinians' faces. That made ‎me feel hopeful.                                                     ‎

As for the program, I have to say I was amazed by the good organization in all the trips ‎we made. The one I loved the most was the trip to the desert and seeing the sunrise at ‎the Dead Sea. I also loved Hebron, I think it was the most shocking city for me. Also ‎Bethlehem was shocking for all of us.

Other activity that I also loved a lot was visiting a family of one of the locals, I felt so ‎loved and cared. I was very emotional to feel how good they treated me. I will forever ‎be grateful and I will never forget that experience. Special thanks to Kayan and her ‎family for being such great hosts, I will always keep you in my heart.‎

To summarize, I had the best time here in Palestine and I'm already thinking about ‎coming back, I've felt so loved by all the volunteers around me, both the internationals ‎and the locals. Everyone here is so opened to talk about anything, I have learned a lot ‎about their culture, traditions, religion. I've also improved myself here.‎

I'm very happy I got the opportunity to be part of this amazing adventure. It has been an ‎honor to be part of this exchange and I hope I can come back as soon as possible to this ‎amazing country and back to be with all this amazing people I have met. Thank you to ‎everyone that has been a part of this experience. May you live a long and peaceful life!‎

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