“My name is Haesoo, and I am from South Korea. I’ve lived and graduated high school in Mussoorie, a city in Northern India since I was nine years old. While having been accepted in a university in the US, I’ve decided to take a gap year and travel the world. By this point in my gap year, I’ve traveled the Eastern Europe and the Balkans and have volunteered in a Greek island of Lesvos for the refugees. I worked for an organization called the Lesvos Solidarity and coordinated food and good distribution within the camp. I plan on to continue my travels in Africa for the rest of my year before I go to my university, where I will be studying either mathematics, education studies or a combination of these two.
What I’ve learned through my experience in Greece are my main motives to volunteering here in Palestine. First, I’ve learnt the good in giving, sharing and helping others. Often, when you share your knowledge and give help, you can build a friendship that is truly special. I’ve always felt that, I’ve gained way more than I could ever offer through my experience from volunteering. Secondly, I’ve made numerous friends in the refugee camp that are from Syria, Iraq and Mali that spoke Arabic and are Muslims. By studying Arabic in this center, I’d love to go back and communicate with them in their language. Moreover, by living in Palestine, I will have a better understanding of their culture that is based on their religion. My ultimate and a rather far fetched goal is to be able to read and interpret the Quran in Arabic. By doing that, I will not only have a better understanding of its culture, but I will have more right to defend and stand for my Muslim friends in the refugee camp and my school in India, as I have always been unhappy with how media has understood them. Palestine, and specifically the Excellence Center is a perfect place that fulfills these desires, as in here, I will have the opportunity to volunteer, learn Arabic and experience the Arabic culture.
Hebron in particular seems to be a completely safe city with its culture and traditions being least affected by the Western and Christian influences. Having only been here for just three days, I can already tell how friendly and welcoming people are in this city. While the media has made a lot of my friends worry about me going to Palestine, I felt much safer here than I did in many other places that I’ve traveled to. I’m really glad that I’ve already met great local people that are enthusiastic about showing their culture and their city. Within Excellence Center, the staffs have made me feel at home and I’ve met other foreign volunteers that are as enthusiastic and motivated about volunteering and learning. I’m looking forward to spending my time here in Excellence Center and in Palestine. I’m excited to immerse myself in its culture and learn as much as I can from it”.