A big idea of mine is that learning happens largely from our experiences and that our experiences can shape our ideas and thinking. Experiencing other places and other people can definitely shape our views and help us to think globally, meaning as a people that are all connected.
I had the amazing opportunity this past summer of traveling to Poland, Prague, and Israel. On this experience I learned about the history of the Jewish people, travelled the land of my ancestors and met Israelis who I felt a big connection to. My Israeli friends and I understand that yes, we have a connection throuh our religion, but we also have a shared history and a shared story. Discussing this with them alone was one of the coolest experiences in my life and I got to do it in a place I had never gotten the chance to explore until then.
Hiking through the Negev desert, talking to an arab family living in Jerusalem, meeting Israeli teens, walking through the ancient city of David, looking at the Western Wall, and then going into the modern city of Tel Aviv, these are all experiences that I’ll certainly never forget but also that made history personal. I understood that history made the world what it is today and it made me realize the importance of thinking of places outside metropolitan New York.
Israel is a place with so many things going on that hearing them on the news or in the newspaper could never do it justice. A major theme of the trip was an idea that said “it’s complicated”. Understanding the complex relationship between Palestinians and Israelis takes an open mind and a complex thinking process. Having the experience to go to the places that all of the history of these struggles and triumphs happened,truly is one of immesurable value.
I truly felt connected to the Israelis I met and the history of the places I visited. Exploring the world allows you to feel a connection to it and to care about the people who make it up. That can never be taught in a classroom. I hope every kid can have an experience like I did. Experiences, in any thoughtful form, are priceless.