Bethlehem as new home
I’ve been in Bethlehem as a volunteer for more than three months now. My name is Fabian, I’m 19 years old and I’m from Dresden in Germany. After completing my high school graduation this summer, I decided to come to Bethlehem for a year to learn Arabic, see the country, and get to know the Palestinian culture.
The bulk of my work consists of teaching. I teach English and German for adolescents and young adults at the Arab Educational Institute. My English lessons are mostly attended by children/teenagers who need special tutoring in addition to normal school lessons, or for young adults who have not learned English properly in school but would like to speak it. Most of my German lessons are attended by students of the higher grades (tawjihi or matriculation level or the year before) and students who either want to study later in Germany or have already been there and found interest in the language. In order to make the German courses free for all students, a crowdfunding campaign will start soon, for which you can donate. I also much appreciate other forms of help, such as giving learning materials.
And if you or someone you know from the Bethlehem area is interested in learning German or English, you are welcome to contact me.
The rest of my work at the AEI is supporting my colleagues at workshops and events, especially by taking photos and making videos for social media.
At the moment I am working on several short spots that will later be shown in programs of the Palestinian news channel Maan so as to promote the AEI and its work.
In addition, I work one day a week at the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, where I translate articles for the website, write some myself and take pictures or make videos.
Thanks to my colleagues, my friends and my predecessor but also thanks to the incredibly hospitable culture of the people here, I quickly found many friends and a deep connection to people and I now feel happy here. Bethlehem has become my new home. When I was shopping in the supermarket the other day, the owner asked me about my nationality. I answered (in Arabic) that I am from Germany, but meanwhile has become half Palestinian.
I wish you and your family a happy, blessed and peaceful Christmas from Bethlehem, the City of Christmas.