As I was leaving home, I wasn’t sure what to expect of my time abroad. I had decided to volunteer in Israel at the Nazareth Hostel Volunteering Project. It was the first time I was travelling by myself for an extended period of time. However, as soon as I arrived at the inn in Nazareth, I realized that everything was going to be great. I was welcomed very warmly by the staff and the other volunteers.
One of the other volunteers who had already been there for a long time couldn’t wait to show us around the city, the apartment and the Fauzi Azar Inn. I volunteered there for 6 weeks; however, it seemed like only a couple. Between having constant interactions with guests from all around the world, exploring the vibrant hustle and bustle of Nazareth’s old city and going on breathtaking walks on the Jesus Trail, there was never a dull moment.
Also there was plenty of time every week to take a day trip or two to Haifa, the Sea of Galilee or any number of the amazing places in the region. By the end of my time in Nazareth, I had met dozens of people from various countries, learned quite a lot of new words in Arabic, and even got to meet and talk with the Filipino Ambassador to Israel as well as 30 Filipino UN soldiers stationed in the Golan Heights. This was probably one of the greatest experiences of my life.
For three days, another volunteer and I guided the Filipino ambassador and 30 UN Filipino soldiers from the Fauzi Azar Inn to Caperneam. It was amazing to hear about the soldiers’ experiences in the Golan as well as the stories their stories from back home.
The great conversation, coupled with the diverse scenery of the Galilee, made for an unforgettable trip. The seemingly unrelenting hospitality of our travel companions was apparent from the multi-course Filipino cuisine that was offered to us 3 times a day.
We spent three days hiking through Zippori National Park, visiting an ancient Roman city that boasts over 2000 years of history, the Horns of Hattin where Saladin famously pushed back the Crusaders and discovering the amazing view from cliffs of Arbel. Our journey ended at Peter’s House, the first Christian house of worship, with a barbecue on the beach while the sunset over the Sea of Galilee. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
Ultimately, what I learned from my time at the Fauzi Azar Inn was that going far away from home, alone, with unknown expectations, can lead to some of the greatest experiences of our lives. By keeping our minds open to new ideas, our hearts open to everyone and being ready for any adventure that comes our way, truly amazing experiences can come our way.
Thank you Fauzi Azar, Nazareth, GoEco and the people I met along the way for all of the unforgettable memories that I will cherish forever. Volunteering in Israel was incredible.
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Nazareth Hostel Volunteering in Israel!