Reflecting on this Past Month with the Students

Shalom from Israel! I am typing this at the Ben Gurion Airport while waiting for my plane back to Boston. I actually got here at 11pm, and my flight is at 7:30am—yes, I’m camping out at the airport overnight. Fortunately many other GTL-ers had the same thought, so I’m here with 6 others 🙂

This is our final post. This post would probably be a sentimental one, summarizing our experience for the past 4 weeks.

This last week, we got to visit another school in Nazareth: Salvatorian Sisters’ School (Al Mukhalles). A few Loopers go to this school, so it was nice to be able to see them and their school!

Kalyn and Emily at the front sharing our lives in the US
Emily and Kalyn with the students at Salvatorian Sisters’ School!

Our last week at Loop was eventful! To make the most out of our remaining time here, we planned many fun activities (aka games!) with the students. On Monday, after Emily held a session on ethics, we played this game: The students enjoyed shouting out the answers! On Tuesday, after Kalyn held a session on UX/UI, we played Pictionary. Especially because this was with the younger group, they got really excited to draw on the whiteboard and we all had a lot of fun guessing each other’s drawing! On Wednesday, after Emily held a session on basic AI, we played Taboo with the older group that we normally teach. We had fun being attentive to when an opponent messed up, and everyone got really competitive 😛 Thursday—our last day—we played CodeNames and Charades, and though we all get competitive usually, we ended the last game on a tie: yay leaving things on a good note for both sides! 😀

Playing Pictionary with the younger group!
The Super Loopers playing CodeNames!

So now not about what we did but more on our interactions with the mentors and students the last few days (and the last month in general):

I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but we got really lucky with our placement. Our students were the most well-behaved, respectful, motivated, intelligent students that were always ready to learn. They were honestly a teacher’s dream class! We mostly taught the oldest group called “Super Loopers,” and we’re super thankful that we got to spend 4 weeks with the same students and grow close to them. They were always curious and not afraid to ask questions; whether it was about our teaching topics or about our lives in the US, they always wanted to know more, and we appreciated their enthusiasm. Whenever we gave feedback about their product ideas, they were very attentive and showed us their improvements in the next session. When we saw each other before or after class, they asked us how our day has been and also told us how school is going for them. We also enjoyed listening to their future plans about college and beyond. We’re super happy that they opened up to us and they asked us many questions, and we got to have many meaningful conversations. We were both happy whenever the students accomplished something like achieving a high score on their exam at school or solving a difficult coding challenge.

We also got to grow close to the mentors at Loop. I feel they really opened up to us in the last 2 weeks, and we learned that a lot of the mentors’ age is similar to ours (we thought they were older, but actually many of them are younger than us!) We went to eat out together, shop souvenirs together, and just hung out at Loop often since Emily and I went to campus very early usually. We shared similar humor, and talked about memes(!) and current events. The room was always filled with laughter when it was us with the mentors, and we will really miss those times.

During our last week, one of the mentors took us to an Arabic dessert place and made us try Kanafeh!
One of the mentors, Mohammad, whom we got to grow very close to!

On our last day, Emily and Kalyn gave handmade cards to each student and mentor we interacted with. We’ll miss them so much!

Handmade cards for students and mentors!
Our students and mentors with our handmade cards :’)

And finally…our group photos with both groups we worked with this month!

Emily and Kalyn with the Loopers (the younger group)!
Kalyn and Emily with the Super Loopers (the older group we normally worked with)!
The students and mentors wanted to follow us to the bus stop on our last day
We were featured on the Loop Instagram story!

The students and mentors thanked us for the things they learned from us, but we’re also thankful for the things we learned from them and all the experiences they provided us. It was an amazing one month in Israel, and we’re so happy that we decided to do GTL-Israel this IAP!

Thank you Loop and MISTI-Israel for this experience!

Our adventure still continues, just back at MIT… 🙂

Written by Kalyn Bowen

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