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homestay experiences

Homestay Experiences

The best way to get to know a culture is to talk to its people. We have had the special opportunity to stay with a different family in the region every week. Although exhausting to move every few days, the experience was most definitely worth it. We spent two weeks with Jewish families and two weeks with Arab families. Each family welcomed us with open arms and endless pots of coffee and tea.

We stayed with Asaf, the founder of Moona, during our first week here. During the course of the week, we learned about Asaf’s life and his vision for Moona as a place where people of all cultures can come together and realize a common dream. After many years of working as an IDF pilot as well as in Israel’s aerospace industry, Asaf wanted to use his resources and connections to create a center to bring opportunity to the northern periphery of Israel, where there is less opportunity. It was inspiring to stay with the founder of Moona during the first week and learn about his hopes and dreams for the center.

Asaf jetted off to France for a skiing trip during our first weekend so we moved on to our next host: Ron. Ron is the coordinator of the Starter program, which is the program that we are mainly teaching and helping out with. We spent the weekend as part of the family and took trips to the very north of Israel where we went biking and hiking. Ron’s three children mostly only spoke Hebrew, so we picked up quite a few words and phrases from them.

weekend bike ride through hula valley

During our short second week at Moona, we stayed with another employee at Moona, Alisa. This week was quite busy with mostly lesson prepping at night, but we still found ways to relax. Alisa took us to the local theater and we watched the Spielberg film: The Post. Her family is very eco friendly and their entire roof and patio is covered with solar panels!

Our first Arab host was Sophre. He works at Moona to secure funding and is the liaison with the local arab council in Majd Al-Krum. Sophre’s wife, Suha, taught us how to make Arabic coffee (which is coffee with ground cardamom) and falafel! She made sure that we were never hungry; it felt like as if we gained a second mom. At night we helped Sophre and Suha’s three children with their math, physics, and English homework. We quickly slipped into a natural routine with the family.

I made my very first falafel!

During our last week here at Moona, Alex and I are hosted by different families. I (Tianye!) am staying with a student at Moona, Khaled. Khaled was the former captain of Moona’s FRC team and now works at Moona as a general shop assistant while he is preparing to apply to universities in Germany to study aerospace engineering. Alex is staying with Khaled’s friend Murad. We are excited to see what the last two host families have in store for us!

❤ Tianye and Alex

Homestay Experiences was originally published in MIT Global Teaching Labs Israel — Moona on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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