Tuesday 22 October 2013


Today the first group met at Al-Quds University to learn about the twinning project and practice their English. The students study various subjects including archaeology, electrical engineering, and English literature. It was a great opportunity to speak English in an informal environment as well as share cultural differences and ask questions about life in the UK.

The students have many things they want to mention regarding life in Palestine. Firstly the occupation is making the country suffer on a daily basis and they want liberty and freedom. Despite this suffering the people live normal lives and they are proud of the way family and friends take care of each other and have good friendships. There is also a vibrant social life. The education system is also very good and it’s a good place to study. One student wanted to say that there are many interesting archaeological sites here in Palestine, particularly Sabastia near Nablus.

When the students were asked if things are getting better or worse, the students generally agreed that the situation is getting worse. They said the peace process is not working and Israel is being more aggressive to towns and villages and taking more land. At the same time the media is not reliable, so don’t believe what the media tells you! Instead they said it’s better to add Palestinian friends on Facebook so that you hear the real news for yourselves.

General questions that the students have for groups in London include:
·       What is the difference between being ‘English’ and being ‘British’?
·       What is the economic situation for people in Britain? Is there a divide between the rich and the poor?
·       What is the relationship between NATO and Britain?
·       How do you feel about Britain being responsible for creating the state of Israel?

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Getting student links moving again!

Today I met with Suzan, Tarik and Safia, we spent the morning talking about student links: What they are and how to improve our efficiency at student links. The talk was brilliant, everyone had great ideas and was very involved, Safia wanted to put forward specialist twinning within departments so that law students (for example) would be twinned with law students in the partner university. This is in order for the exchange of ideas and communication to be more relevant. A great idea!

We later set up our stall outside and started many conversations with passer-bys. One person who worked for RSPB (a bird charity) was shocked by the situation and compared it to apartheid South Africa. Many more wandering strangers were curious to know more and one bought a CADFA dvd. We came across a wonderful mixture of people, some who had been to Palestine and were eager to donate money and others who didn't even know where it was on a map but were then equally eager to learn more and buy some products. (The olive oil was a favourite!)

Myself and Tarik went to get a lebanese wrap from a nearby cafe/supermarket called Phoenicia, we both got a lamb kofta, it was lovely but there was so much salad packed into the wrap that it was spilling over. Perhaps they need to invest in bigger wraps...

We then talked with Nandita as a group about the practicality of how to get things in motion and we are all optimistic about what we can do and how we will do it in the coming week. It was mostly lovely to just meet and talk with a great bunch of people who I really look forward to spending time with over the next few months! Hopefully the wheels have been set in motion and there will be more to come soon!

Watch this space!