My translator Ahmed has been an invaluable resource in my Arts and Crafts classes and sports days at TYO. He has also become a good friend and someone I truly respect. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate at TYO! Below is an interview I did with Ahmed so that I could share more about him with the world beyond Nablus!
Me: Ahmad can you tell me about your studies at An Najah University?
Ahmed: Right now I am studying English literature. I love English and am interested in learning more. Right now I’m studying Shakespeare. We also study American lit and semantics etc. in my program. I will graduate next semester.
Me: Why did you want to study English?
Ahmed: I was going to be an engineer but didn’t have the grades for it. I also considered working in IT, but then I switched to English Literature.
Me: How long have you been fluent in English?
Ahmed: I was always speaking with foreigners who taught English at my schools as a child and then expanded on my knowledge in university.
Me: Why did you apply to be a translator for TYO?
Ahmed: I took a Western Civilization course and there was a quote I remember hearing in class that said “public service always leads to salvation” so I changed my course in life to do that. I really like working with children as well. For example when you tell the children there will be a swimming day you can even smell the happiness in the room!
Me: What do you like most about volunteering here?
Ahmed: Meeting new people from other countries and other Palestinians. I enjoy being exposed to new cultures and getting along with foreigners.
Me: Could you tell me about one of your favourite moments in Arts and Crafts class this session?
Ahmed: When the kids poured water on you (me) on water day. It was very funny!
Me: How do you feel about the summer program at TYO coming to a close?
Ahmed: I feel sad because I like it very much and the interns are leaving. I don’t want it to end.
Me: Would you like to continue working with TYO in the future?
Ahmed: If there are opportunities, I really like working here. After vacation, I’d like to return in the fall.
Me: What is your dream job?
Ahmed: Professor of English Literature.
Me: In Palestine?
Ahmed: Of course!
Me: What advice would you give to future translators and volunteers with TYO?
Ahmed: Be flexible with the children and be flexible with the teacher. Work on understanding things through context and not just the words. Pay attention to what’s going on between the teacher and students so that you can convey the student’s feelings to the teacher.
Me: Thank you Ahmed for taking the time to share a little bit about yourself and your experience here at TYO. It’s been a privilege to work with you and I hope that we have a chance to do it again someday in the future!
Ahmed: It’s my privilege to work with you.
- Megan is a TYO summer program intern