Meet the Spring 2011 Interns!

TYO is pleased to introduce the latest, stellar members of our Nablus team. Welcome, Spring Interns: Adam, Mathilda, Colin and Leila! Their classes begin next week. Currently, they are in the middle of an informative and energizing 10-day orientation program! Please continue to view this blog in the coming weeks for updates on their progress and reflections on their experiences in Nablus.

For now, here is a bit about our new team members:

Adam was born and raised in East Lansing, Michigan, just outside the campus of Michigan State University.  He graduated from Tulane University in 2008 with a BS Psychology and a BA in Sociology. While in New Orleans, Adam worked in various positions in and around the public schools utilizing the benefits of play and the productive influence of positive thinking. Following graduation, he spent a year working in an English academy in Seoul, South Korea. This spring, Adam will be teaching a variety of English courses to fifth graders, twelfth graders, TYO staff and adult community members. Adam loves getting lost in books, wandering little-traveled roadways, running as means of exploration, playing music as ‘personal therapy,’ and all things New Orleans, especially those with a dash of funk mixed in!

Mathilda is from near Liverpool in the north of the UK. She graduated from London’s School of Oriental and African Studies six months ago, having studied Japanese and Politics (especially International Relations, the Middle East, and Africa) – with Spanish and Persian on the side. She is really looking forward to taking on Arabic as her seventh language, when not teaching or working on projects. This spring, Mathilda will be teaching yoga, basic photography and English. She loves living and working overseas and is excited to see what the universe throws her way in Nablus.

Colin grew up just a bit north of the Bronx in New York. He had a youth dominated by basketball and soccer. He graduated from Boston College in 2008 with a BA in History. After graduation, Colin took up work in a conflict resolution/education capacity in Belfast. Since Belfast, Colin has worked a bit in New York, part-time in South Africa for the World Cup and down in Ciudad Juarez running educational/basketball programming in Mexico. This spring, Colin will be facilitating the Big Brothers’ Club and Homework Help tutoring. He loves running, books of all persuasions, writing, cereal and travel.
Leila hails from Durham, North Carolina though she considers Amman, Jordan her second home having spent a few years there as a kid.  Leila graduated from Duke University in 2010 with a BA in Political Science and French & European Studies.  After graduation, Leila spent the past few months in the Middle East traveling through Lebanon, Jerusalem and Jordan, and working in Amman with a youth and community development organization. This spring, Leila will be teaching aerobics and computer classes to female community members and a music class for kids. She love practically anything “outdoorsy,” traveling, languages music, piano and cooking.

Press Conference with Imad

Last weekend my class played several question games to build on our activities focusing on observing the world through the five senses. To put all the question brainstorming to work we invited TYO staff member, Imad, to a “press conference,” which you can watch below!

Duha: What’s your name?

Imad: My name is Imad Mansour.

Ibrahim: How are you?

Imad: Thanks be to God, very good.

Mohammed H: How old are you?

Imad: 26, minus a little.

Ayasar: Where do you live?

Imad: I live in al-Dhahiyya, in Nablus.

Rihanna: What do you do?

Imad: I am the volunteer coordinator at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization.

Labeeba: When do you go to work in the morning?

Imad: 8 o’clock in the morning.

Mohammed A: How many brothers and sisters do you have?

Imad: 5 brothers, 1 sister.

Yazan: Are you married?

Imad: Engaged!

[Congratulations from the room]

Said: Who’s the most important person in your life?

Imad: Thukan Fishawi in Ramallah.

Shams: What’s your favorite meal?

Imad: Stuffed Grape leaves.


Kara is an intern at TYO Nablus and a participant in the Kalimatna Initiative.

Flexible Solutions in Nablus

Where does a TYO intern purchase yoga mats in Nablus? I don’t know, but program coordinator Chelsey had a creative idea: use the non-slip material that merchants sell for use on kitchen floors. It comes on rolls to be cut to the desired length, and it is the same thickness as a yoga mat. Mumtaz!

Saturday Chelsey and I headed to the Old City in search of the material she’d seen previously hanging outside some shops. It was one of many rainy days in Nablus, so fewer alleyway goods were on display. What’s more we didn’t know the name of our product. How do you explain, “we want the rubbery foam-ish stuff you put on the floor to stop from sliding around,” in Arabic? After several unsuccessful attempts in which we were repeatedly shown an array of carpets, we came upon what were looking for: sambatik. Of course, the one place we located it was charging a rate too high for our budget (20 NIS/meter), so we returned home and decided on an alternative approach.

The next day Chelsey arranged for Yassir, the facilities manager, to escort me back to the Old City to a shop where he knew the material would be more affordable. After waiting a few Middle Eastern minutes (half an hour), Yassir and I ran through more rain back to our taxi, carrying 30 meters of sambatik. Back in the conference room-turned-yoga studio, I cut the material into 1.5 meter sections.

Khalas, the women’s fitness class was ready to begin on Monday with mats and a teacher, but were the women ready for yoga? Some of the staff warned me that the women might not consider yoga real exercise since it doesn’t involve running and jumping. From the sighs of relief after coming out of downward dog pose, though, I know that the women in the class are more aware of the physical effort yoga entails. Keep reading in the coming weeks to find out how they face that challenge!


Kara is an intern at TYO Nablus and a participant in the Kalimatna Initiative.

Introductions: New Interns!

Spring 2010 Interns Kara (left) and Mary (right)

TYO is pleased to introduce the latest members of its Nablus team. Welcome, Kara and Mary! They will be interning with TYO for the Spring 2010 Session along with Bieta, who has been with us since October 2009. In addition to teaching classes for women and youth, Kara, Mary and Bieta will take part in the Kalimatna Initiative this spring. Please check this blog frequently for their updates on their progress and reflections on their experiences in Nablus. For now, here is a bit about Mary and Kara straight from the source!

I have two life goals: to publish my own children’s books and to be multilingual. I am excited for the ways that working at TYO will contribute to those goals and other positive work I do in the future! As for the basics, I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but I’m not Amish. I graduated from American University in D.C. in May, and since then I’ve been a wandering/wondering anthropologist. Most recently I spent ten days with some of the world’s most interesting journalists at a media training in Yucatan, Mexico. I also spent time last fall leading youth art workshops in Guatemala. I look forward to developing my skills at promoting critical thinking through art with my class at TYO! I like yoga and bicycling. I also enjoy cooking and share meals with friends. And finally, I love to learn what I have in common with new people from different places.


Originally from New York City, I became interested in Arabic, the Middle East, and Palestine during my freshman year at Brown University.  After my first Arabic class sophomore year, I took a year off from college to study the language intensively in Morocco and Egypt.  The summer of that year, I volunteered as an English teacher in Nahr al Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon.  At Brown, I majored in Middle East Studies and Development Studies.  In 2007, I spent a year interning at Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First before heading to Jordan for the next fifteen months on a Fulbright grant. I would like to continue researching the Middle East as an anthropology graduate student, so I’ve applied to PhD programs for Fall 2010.  I love studying Arabic, cooking, exercising, gardening, and dance parties.  Kunafa is just about my favorite thing, so I look forward to eating a lot of it in Nablus.


Thanks for joining our team in Nablus!

TYO recently extended its International Internship into a yearlong program with fall, spring, and summer options. If you are interested in interning with us in Nablus, please sign up here for updates and new applications as they become available. Thanks!

2010 Spring Internship Program Recruitment!

TYO published its 2010 Spring Internship Program Application this week. We are recruiting highly qualified and motivated interns with experience in international travel and teaching to work at our flagship center in Nablus (West Bank, Palestine) this spring (late January – mid May).

Interns will cooperate with TYO staff before their arrival in Nablus to develop a variety of activities for children, youth, and adults from the Nablus community. These may include: afterschool workshops for sport/drama/journalism or other activities for children and youth, evening English classes, and weekend recreational activities. Upon arrival, interns will work full-time leading the programs they developed, supporting other interns and TYO staff, and evaluating the impact of their programs throughout the spring.

Read more about the program and download the application (PDF) today – it’s due by December 6, 2009.

Good Luck!