My name is Tina and I come from Sweden . I have been in Karama now for almost one month and I would like to share my experience so far. When I first arrived I did not really know what to expect. I do not think that it is possible to fully prepare for an experience like this. I have to admit that the beginning was not always easy. Being in a new place and not understanding the language is hard. It also takes some time to feel comfortable and at home in the host family. What I have noticed is that each day it becomes a little bit easier. You get to know people and start to make bonds, and some people here are truly wonderful and caring. For me I realized that if I want to be like one in the family I have to make an effort. This is really important. If you have an open mind and truly are interested in the community and the people here the experience will be better, this I believe. The short time I have been here I feel that I have learnt so much. I admit that at times it is still not really easy, I’m far from home and way out of my comfort zone. But I do not regret coming here.
The first week at Karama was quite overwhelming. The children are very curios and sometimes they can be a bit rough. But I feel joy in playing with them and getting to know them better. The first week I mostly observed and it took me some time to start my own activities. When I have an activity for the children, inside or outside, I try to actively participate myself and not just supervise the children. I think they enjoy it more when I play with them instead of just watching. In three weeks I have learned some words in Arabic and the communication with the children works well. You will learn what is necessary to know when you are here every day.
I have also done a trip organized by Karama to Nablus which was really great. Then I joined my host family on a daytrip and I was so happy that they asked me to join them. There are more trips to be made but because I’m here for a while there is no rush. I have also been in Bethlehem for a day, enjoying the city and walking around.
Finally, my experience so far is mostly positive. There is always room for improvement and sometimes it can be difficult to understand why things are going in a certain way. It can be a challenge and having this in mind when arriving is not wrong. But most important is to have an open mind and a willingness to learn and share experiences!