Mina is from a conservative family in a small, homogenous community in Northern Israel. At first GHIS was too different from what she knew back home, so she wanted to leave. But her mother told her that when you come against a wall, you need to confront it–and yourself–and overcome it; otherwise, she warned, you and your life will be uninteresting. Mina stayed and pushed against walls to become fascinated by the world.
One barrier that she broke down was her interest in art history. This led her to write a research paper analyzing how nudity has been used in art from ancient times to today. She immersed herself in something that she never would have dared look at before, and learned so much in the process. At GHIS, she felt safe enough to see the world through her own, wide-open eyes and experiences.
Community over stereotypes: Mina was pleased with the way different people at the school interacted. She says, “you would think that most would have stereotypical ideas about other people, but they weren’t like that. We forgot about our ethnicities and our differences. We were fine with what we had in common, which out-weighed our differences.”
Currently: Mina is in Seoul, South Korea, learning Korean so that she can attend university there to study business or management.
Dreaming big: After her international studies, Mina plans to return to her community in northern Israel to create programs where Arab youth can expand their potential, putting their efforts and energies into something good for their future. She wants to fill a gap that she sees–and has seen for a while. In fact, she says that one of the reasons she went to GHIS was to develop herself in a way that would help her achieve her goal, yet she didn’t feel that it was possible otherwise. By creating opportunities for other young Arab students, she believes will prevent them from losing their way.
The GHIS impact: When she arrived at GHIS, she wouldn’t initiate a conversation or be the first to speak up in a classroom discussion. She was used to following instructions, as was the norm in the schools she attended in the Arab education sector. So, her first three months at GHIS were especially hard for her. Everything and everyone was new. Once she realized that if she didn’t speak up and initiate things, then nothing would change, her voice was heard leading conversations.
A new understanding: In Israel, (unfortunately) Jews and Arabs generally don’t socialize. Mina saw their interactions as either political and negative, or business and impersonal. At GHIS, though, this was not the case. Her peers were nice and understanding, and if the political situation didn’t come up, then there was no difference between them: they were friends and classmates.
GHIS friendships: Mina found that going to GHIS gave her and her classmates the opportunity to dream bigger, and be more open-minded and international. It made her more comfortable with different people, so much so that now this introvert isn’t afraid to go up to anyone and become friends with them. “At GHIS everyone seemed to be a potential friend. You could always find something that you have in common.”
Summing up 2 years at GHIS: For Mina, they were 2 years full of emotions, but always love and support. Being in the first year at GHIS, things were always interesting as the faculty, together with the students, were starting to establish the GHIS way and create school traditions.
David joined GHIS because he was looking for the right educational establishment to develop personally and professionally. As soon as he heard about GHIS, he realized that it suits his values.
“As someone who has always been committed to coexistence in Israel, I see GHIS as a great vehicle to bring young people together in an accepting and non-prejudicial way.”
As well as being a teacher, David is also trained in special needs education at all school levels.
David holds a joint Honors B.Ed. in Special Education ages 6 to 21, and BA in Literature at Oranim College