Sara comes from the north of Spain but is now living in Madrid where she studies Economics and International Relations at Rey Juan Carlos University. She has a strong interest in the Middle East and would like to work in the region one day.
At the beginning of her stay Sara lived with a host family in Tabaqa, Dura for two weeks before moving to another host family in Hebron. She was very happy with her first family. It was a big family and they all lived in the same street so she was always having tea with cousins or playing with the children outside, etc. For some unknown reason Sara’s host family needed her to move to Hebron and this was quite difficult and unsettling for her. Her second host family was smaller, the parents were very young and they had two sons. They were very nice family and Sara felt very comfortable with them.
Sara feels that by staying with a host family you receive a full immersion in the Palestinian culture and society. She arrived in the last week of Ramadan so she had a lot of Iftar meals, and the final party of Eid, as she was part of the Palestinian society for that special week. She also went to two Palestinian parties where she danced and ate with the women. Here in Palestine it’s easy to be involved in the local culture because everybody invites you to their homes or their parties and Palestinian people are characterized for their hospitality.
Sara had been studying Arabic at university for a year before she travelled to Hebron. She arrived here knowing the letters and the numbers so could already read and write, which made it much easier for her to learn the language. She did find that:
“The problem is that the Arabic countries speak their own dialect and I learnt the formal Arabic that it’s a little different. Arabic it’s a difficult language and it requires time so I suggest to come here with a little notion of the language”.
Sara made great use of her free time and she saw everything in Hebron that she had read in the news and in her history books. To see the situation with her own eyes was her first motivation to come to Hebron, ” to know and see all what I was told about this country”. She found that in Hebron there are almost daily confrontations between the settlers and the locals and if you are interested you can learn and listen to stories about people and about what has happened since 1948. Sara found this very interesting.Sara visited a long list of places: Jerusalem; Bethlehem; Jericho; the Dead Sea; Haifa; Acre and Ramallah. On reflection she says: