Working as a nurse at the West Bank
I was in Palestine for my 7th semester in nursing school. The course was called “Global Health in Palestine”, and the purpose of the stay was to gain an understanding of the health system in Palestine. I was affiliated with Al Ahli Hospital in Hebron three days a week, where we followed nurses in an intensive care unit, an emergency room, a heart operation ward, and a week with midwives at a maternity ward. In addition to that, I had teaching one day a week at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis. And then we had one day a week where we got out to see other organizations or initiatives in the healthcare system, for example a health clinic in a refugee camp, where we got an insight into how health professionals worked and what services they could offer.
My experience of Palestine was a stark contrast to everything I had experienced before. It is very chaotic and there are many people everywhere. In contrast, the Palestinian people are the most hospitable and helpful people I have ever met. I never felt unsafe wherever we were. There was an incredible amount to see and experience, and I wish I had had much longer time there than my five weeks.
I thought I was well informed about the situation in Palestine before I left, but when I got there I was very surprised that it was so much worse. Despite this, the Palestinians have a tremendous energy in welcoming and being hospitable, and they always want to tell new people about life in Palestine.
Before I left, I had the impression that it was not easy to get to Palestine and that it was not very safe either. The most important thing I bring with me from my trip is that you can easily travel to Palestine, and that you are surprised at how safe you feel because people are so hospitable. I do not think there is enough focus on the situation at home, and going there is the best way to learn and see the situation with your own eyes.
For future volunteers considering a stay in Palestine, I would highlight that you as an individual is part of tailoring your own stay. which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage.
If you are very outgoing, you can be allowed to do whatever you want, because the Palestinians are always interested in making your stay exactly what you want. However, it can also be a disadvantage because you can quickly feel that things are not under control. I would say to others who came from my educational institution, that they should be aware that you still have to take the exam at home and that it can cause some problems.
Most of all, I would say that it was an unforgettable experience that everyone should try.
During our first week, we had briefings and introduction by the Danish House to Palestine and how to navigate, it was a huge help and worked really well.