HTC English Junior Bekki Wyss in Palestine
This summer, I traveled to the West Bank to study colloquial and modern standard Arabic at one of the most politically important Palestinian institutions, Birzeit University.
Spending eight weeks living in Ramallah, I had the opportunity to visit summer cultural festivals, partake in nightly Ramadan celebrations, and learn about Palestinian culture. Studying in the West Bank also meant living under Israeli military occupation, which often meant crossing checkpoints, witnessing nighttime searches and arrests, and sometimes being caught up in demonstrations against The Prawer Plan (Israel's proposed relocation of thousands of Bedouins from their homes).
Besides studying Arabic, I traveled with an American Fulbright professor of Middle Eastern oral history to speak to Palestinian and Israeli scholars in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Jericho, volunteered at a local refugee camp, and participated in educational tours to the Gaza border, through the South Hills, to the Galilee, and through Tel Aviv.
Hopefully, I'll be able to use this experience toward my literary criticism thesis about the way that Northern Irish writers often use the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a parable to the Troubles.