Hello. My name is Ellen Ebbesen. I am a 20-year-old girl from a small town in Denmark. I have chosen to be a part of the Excellence Center’s program Volunteer in Palestine. I have been a volunteer at different organizations for most of my life. Most recently I worked as a volunteer at my local refugee center helping with homework and pedagogue. At the refugee center I met a lot of Palestinian refugees and children and their stories really touched me and motivated me to go to Palestine to help. Other than that I have always been very interested in the conflict between Palestine and the Israeli oppressors. Palestine has always been a country that I have wanted to visit and see for myself.
Unfortunately, Palestine does not have a great reputation in the Danish media. That was also a significant reason for me to come here. I wanted to see and experience the country for myself – and hopefully prove that the hostile Danish media is wrong.
I am also very interested in history and Palestine has such a rich history. I have aspirations to study History at the university of Copenhagen – and my trip to Palestine will definitely be an asset to my university application. I have always dreamt of being a teacher (preferably teaching history), but I have no experience whatsoever. So I thought that this would be an excellent place for me to try and get comfortable with teaching.
Another motivation for me to come here is my dream to learn Arabic. I already speak English and Spanish, and Arabic is the next ‘grand language’ that I would like to master. Unfortunately, afterschool Arabic programs in Denmark are very expensive – plus I thought that learning the language would be better with on the ground experience. I chose the Excellence Center in particular because of the possibility to live with a host family. I hope that this will teach me a lot about Palestinian everyday life, culture, values and language.
I hope to visit a lot of schools around the town of Hebron and talk with as many different people and pupils as possible. Other than that I hope to get teaching experience and hopefully figure out if this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. At the moment, I think that it is difficult to know what I can contribute at the Center, without knowing what is needed here. But being here for three months I hope to figure out how I can make the most valuable contribution. I have no idea if my work will make a difference for anybody in the big picture, but I hope so. If not it will definitely make a difference for me personally – being on my own in a strange country for the first time and learning a new language will hopefully make me grow and be more independent. I also think that it will make a difference and be a good experience for my host family to practice their English conversation skills and to teach me Arabic in exchange.