“No matter where or when, we will always meet new people. They will come into our lives, some will stay others will only be there for a short time. Some people you will remember for years or even for a life time, others you will forget again. Every person will make a small change in your life and you will in theirs. Defining who you are, is the creation of the peoples impact you have surrounded you with.
Here I am in Hebron, Palestine at the Excellence center. A dutch girl living in Denmark, 26 years young for the first time in Palestine to learn Arabic. Some might wonder the choices you make, others will understand without questioning. Why I am here? An easy answer would be including the story, about me dreaming of learning to speak Arabic, being able to speak to the refugee children who I teach back at home, to learn a language that is spoken so widely all over the world and to fulfill the desire to learn more languages and expend my vocabulary and view of the world I live in.
An easy answer is never enough for me. I am sure, there is always more to a story or to the choices we make in life. What really called me to Palestine? Maybe the hope to get a better understanding of the Middle East, maybe to feed myself with new and inspiring experiences, maybe to challenge myself, and definitely to see Palestine with my own eyes, instead of the glasses I was raised with.
Learning a new language is more than expending your vocabulary with new words or direct translations. A language contains a way of thinking and living. No culture can be separated from its mother tongue and no language can be separated from its culture.
An other option is to turn the question around. Instead of asking ourselves why we travel to Palestine, we could ask each other ‘Why not?’. The Excellence Center changed the life of a close friend of mine, whom I have known since we where only 4 years old and had no idea of what our lives would bring us in the future. Her stay in Hebron and opening her eyes to the Arabic language and Palestine way of life continues to effect the roads she is choosing in life.
This morning I started my diary, asking myself how I could prepare for the unknown. Only when living with our eyes wide open and without preconceptions we can truly experience our surroundings. So that is what I will do at the homely and warm Excellence center and in Hebron. I will open my eyes and feed myself with new experiences and knowledge.
Just as there are more sides to a single story, we will effect each others life both ways. People learn from each other and with each other . As a teacher I know it is impossible to learn others something, the only way is to teach them, after which they will make their own choices and acquire the information useful or interesting to them.
At some point, or in my case after a week, I will leave Palestine and the beautiful people I have met again and I will travel to where I call home. How can we not take the new gained knowledge home with us? My stay in Hebron will always be a part of me and it will make chances in my way of thinking and acting. Will it fulfill all the expectations I had, will my newly gained knowledge be supportive when sharing my thoughts with the people in my life, or will it change my work and the relation with my pupils and their parents”.