Leila Del Santo
Originally from Durham, North Carolina, Leila taught music, fitness, and computer classes at TYO during the spring 2011 semester.
What was your favorite moment/story from your time with TYO?
During the last week of music classes, my students and I took a field trip to the Edward Said Music Conservatory in Nablus. Although initially displeased that the much-anticipated field trip was not to one of the local amusement parks, the students’ disappointment soon ebbed as they eagerly watched the conservatory instructors perform and provide instruction on instruments ranging from the bass to the saxophone. For many of my students the trip illustrated the beauty of what could be accomplished with hard work and dedication to the study of an instrument.
What have you been up to after leaving Nablus?
I am a Hart Fellow with the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy in Battambang, Cambodia (July 2011-May 2012).
Do you have any advice for anyone considering applying for a TYO internship?
The TYO internship program is about so much more than day-to-day classroom instruction at the center; it is also about meaningful engagement with the Nabulsi community. Never let language barriers or unfamiliarity with your surroundings prevent you from building those relationships–for me personally, they were what made the internship experience so positive.
How do you think TYO affected you personally and professionally?
I’ve always loved working with kids, and the TYO internship only intensified that commitment to child and youth-related work. My current work in Battambang Province, Cambodia is likewise centered around vulnerable youth, and it is an area of interest that will most likely extend into future professional work. On a more personal note, as an American with Palestinian roots, the TYO internship was an opportunity to learn about, and to experience and celebrate my mother’s heritage. The graciousness and resiliency of the Palestinian people is inspiring, and I hope to return to work in Palestine in the near future.
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