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STEP! II

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From the Warmth of Palestine Back to the New England Cold

As I get ready to return to bitter, frozen New England (in both senses of both words), I, like all of the fellows, am reflecting on my time here in Nablus.  Waking up to the sight of Dunkin’ Donuts and snow up to my waist will be an unfortunate change from the view of the Nabulsi mountains from my very window.  While I will obviously miss the beautiful vistas of Palestine, and the amazing knafah, it is my students that I will miss the most. This was my first experience teaching students who are my own age. Previously, I taught Continue reading…

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I Respect Myself: A Safe Space for Self-Empowerment

respect -(ri-spekt)- the esteem for a sense of the worth or excellence of a person Almost 15 years ago, I worked at  a youth theater arts summer camp. I joined the staff as an assistant teacher just for the summer not knowing about the existing programs and routines. One of the things that I noticed was that they had this unique ritual everyday of saying a password. The password could be anything of the students and staff’s combined choosing. However, there was one strict requirement. This password was to affirm something beautiful and empowering for everyone present. The password was a Continue reading…

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Humans of Nablus 37

My favorite thing to do in Nablus is to study English. I plan to travel abroad one day to build bridges with the international community through the English language. With the relationships I build abroad I hope to bring financial resources to my community as well as emotional support.  From this kind of support I want to improve housing for people living in poverty. I hope that poverty as a whole can come to an end in Nablus through creating greater access to a good education. I want to teach all children how to speak English. I want to teach my Continue reading…

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How Far We Have Come!

Eight weeks of STEP! II EFL program passed us by so quickly! The first day of classes began with students quietly introducing themselves and trying their best to figure out what the teacher was saying in English so quickly. As the weeks passed, everyone became increasingly comfortable and with that the students began to develop in their confidence. Throughout the first five weeks of class, we played volleyball as a group daily during class breaks and through this a level of comfort developed within the group and this translated well in the classroom. The biggest change I have seen in Continue reading…

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Humans of Nablus 36

I really enjoy studying languages. I recently started learning how to play the guitar with one of TYO’s teachers. I was amazed by how learning music feels like learning another language. You need only learn certain sounds, symbols and patterns and how to put them together. Now I’m starting to play songs in English, and I’m excited to become even better in the language. انا استمتع حقا بدراسة اللغات . مؤخرا بدأت تعلم العزف على الجيتار مع واحد من اساتذة منظمة شباب الغد .لقد كان شعور رائع كيف ان تعلم الموسيقى شعوره نفس شعور تعلم اي لغه اخرى . مع Continue reading…

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Fostering a Brave Space

At the door of TYO, students can either leave their external feelings or share their sentiments and be welcomed into the community. As an educational and psycho-social organization, the staff at TYO inherently cares for the holistic care of every student. In order to ensure the comprehensive care of every student, the staff and volunteers uphold that TYO is neither a religious nor a political space, but rather the space for empowerment and self-fulfillment. At times, however, this is easier said than done. Sometimes students are inundated by external factors that could have unexpectedly kept them up late, prevented them Continue reading…

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Humans of Nablus 35

If you want to learn any language, you must be serious.  To learn anything, you must be serious.  And you really need to have a friend from that country.  To learn Arabic, for example, you have to have a friend from the Arab world. اذا اردت تعلم لغة جديدة عليك ان تكون جديا في ذلك وعليك ان تجد صديقا من تلك البلد التي تتعلم لغتها . فمثلا لتعلم اللغه العربية عليك ايجاد صديق من العالم العربي.   Haya is a student in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program as part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and Continue reading…

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Fairuz in the Morning, Frank Sinatra in the Evening

Music is a powerful and positive force that connects people of different ages, backgrounds, and cultures. Recent Nobel Prize laureate Bob Dylan, Adele, Ravi Shankar, Edith Piaf, Tom Jobim, and Sakamoto, among so many others, have enchanted audiences around the world regardless of their ethnicity, race, and native language. “Music is the universal language of mankind,” once said American poet Henry Longfellow. One of my first questions to those I meet in Nablus and to my students in the STEP! II EFL program is, “What kind of music do you like to listen to?” “Fairuz in the morning, Om Koultoum Continue reading…

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Humans of Nablus 34

I love to work with children, especially in the most under-served communities. I want to be there to support those in need when I can. Working with children is a beautiful thing. You can teach children many things and work with so many different personalities. I believe that we can solve so many problems in our society by starting with them. This to me is a wonderful process. احب العمل مع الاطفال وخاصة هؤلاء  الذين يعيشون في المناطق المهمشة والاقل حظا, اريد ان اتواجد هناك لمساندة من هم بحاجة لمساعدة كيفما استطعت. العمل مع الاطفال شئ جميل ويمكنك تعليم الاطفال الشئ Continue reading…

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From China to Palestine: An Unexpected Journey

Life called me to TYO as I finished up my experience working with Peace Corps in China. I was drawn to the fellowship position as it combined both of my passions: education and experiencing the cultures of the world. As the taxi brought me into Nablus for my first time the wind was blowing into the car and the call to prayer began as it was 5:00 in the morning. All I can remember is an overwhelming feeling that once again life had brought me to the exact place I needed to be.  Following your passion, a career versus a Continue reading…