Meet Samantha Alvarez, our Teacher Spotlight of the week! Samantha is from Palo Alto, California and graduated from UC Berkeley with a Political Science degree with a concentration in Comparative Politics with a focus on the Middle East. “I’ve known for years I wanted to come to Israel for a long term stay, and perhaps even move here. I love language and I felt like having the opportunity to help kids in Israel acquire a second, third, and sometimes even fourth language was a great fit for me”. During her free time, she volunteers at the Bat Yam Youth Center helping Israeli university and college students with English tasks.
Favorite thing about Bat Yam: “I can’t just pick one – proximity to the sea, proximity to Tel Aviv but probably what tops the list is how friendly all the people who live here are, all our neighbors have been incredibly generous and welcoming”.
For Samantha, Israel always feels like home even though it is nothing like Palo Alto, California. She loves that everyone is always looking out for you – and this kind of community here is not something she has experienced in her hometown. She also states that Israel has the best sunsets in the entire world!
Best memory from the program so far: “One of my first days at school, I was outside during recess just watching the kids play and I noticed some girls following me and whispering. When I sat down, I heard them discussing if they should say hi, how they should say hi, so I finally turned around and said hi to them. Their English was about as good as my Hebrew but they were telling me all about themselves and I was trying to ask them questions and soon probably 10 more girls joined and I was sitting on the ground surrounded by 15 eight-year-old girls who just wanted to connect. It was surreal.”
Favorite Hebrew Word: משמש “meesh-meesh” which means apricot