The FFIPP summer progam was…
…one of the most interesting and eye-opening experiences of my life. I had visited Israel/Palestine the previous year as a tourist, but as my visit was quite limited (and mainly in Israel), I was not really able to obtain a proper understanding of the situation. By spending five weeks in the West Bank, partly as an intern in Hebron, I was confronted with the reality of the occupation and was able to gain many new perspectives on the situation. Living in Hebron, one of the most politically tense cities in the West Bank, was an extremely intense experience. It quickly became very apparent that I, as a foreigner, have more rights and freedoms in Palestine than the Palestinians living there. However, there is an incredible sense of solidarity and companionship among the Palestinian people in Hebron. The people are very friendly and welcoming, which contributed to a positive experience overall.
Before the program, I had voiced interest in working at an agency related to journalism but was ultimately much happier to be placed in an organization mainly focused on field work. The other intern and I received various tasks such as organizing, promoting and fundraising for a number of projects, but our main activities included meeting families, sitting in on meetings with other organizations and visiting Bedouin communities and surrounding villages. Sometimes, we worked long hours and during the weekends, but as each day was so interesting and full of new experiences, I was always excited to go to work.
Being able to share the experience with other interns was also a great advantage, as we would have daily discussions about what we had seen and experienced. I arrived curious with many questions, and left with an enlightened mind but a heavy heart.