So the semester is over, and I'm back in the United States of America. It was a great experience. The whole semester, and the fact that I'm back in the US, and have been here for a whole week, but have only been here for one week, all seems so surreal. It's only the second week of school at Hampshire, and I already have three papers due this week. Really, I shouldn't even be writing right now. But I wanted to tell all my faithful readers (if you're still reading now) that I made it home in one piece, and I am very much taking all I have learned in Israel home with me. I'm writing two final papers (semester-long projects) influenced by last semester. The first, for Political Sociology of the Middle East, is a mini-thesis about my field study. I'm the only Div II student in the class, so everyone else is just workshopping pieces of their Div III's, and my professor thought writing about my experiences would be the best way for me to have something to workshop as well. I'm pretty excited about it. My other paper is about how the globalization process has increased awareness around the world of other communities' environmental problems, and is leading to more positive accountability. The focus, of course, is on environmental problems caused by war and how this increased visibility/accountability progress could lead to better conflict resolution processes. I'm using the Israel/Palestine water issues as a jumping off point, but I'm trying not to stick too much in the Middle East with the project, because I don't want to limit my knowledge just yet. These two projects should really help me figure out what to do for my Div III, but as of right now, I still really have only the vaguest of ideas. I just know now that I definitely want to incorporate my Field Study very heavily, and stay away from the Balkans for once. The problem (and benefit for my learning) is that the Israel/Palestine conflict is much different than the situations I've studied so far. Mostly, I've stuck to genocide and massacres that have been inflicted on largely innocent groups of people. Whereas with Israel/Palestine, there is so much violence and bad feelings from either side, its a much more complex situation. Sure, there is still an obvious aggressive group and an oppressed group, but the oppressed group is actually fighting back. You didn't see that much in Armenia, the Third Reich, or Argentina.
Anyway, my semester abroad has, overall, been a very positive experience, and I'm glad I did the program that I did. I'm grateful for all my new friends and viewpoints, and happy to carry it all with me as I go on. But I'm also really glad to be home.