As I sit here in this relatively unremarkable hostel in the middle of the old city of Jerusalem, preparing to return to my regular life as a student in London, I’d like to take a moment to offer some circumspect opinions about my time at Al-Najah and the West Bank.
I think that there is a lot of exceptionally good work going on at the university, the resources and facilities available are of a very high standard, and in any developing country, that is normally the most difficult thing to acquire. Similarly, I was struck by the motivation, intelligence and good spiritedness of the students and the organizers.
However, on a personal and institutional level, I would suggest (in my humble opinion) that Al-Najah needs to reconsider the academia to extra-curricular balance. In my experience, university is not just about learning things in the classroom, it’s about getting involved in associations that champion what you are passionate about. I would love to see an increase in the proliferation of student interest groups.
Apart from student engagement, this would require some level of understanding from the university faculty. I don’t know exactly how this can be achieved, but I believe that Al-Najah will be much the richer for it.