“Jerusalem; an interesting, complex, and divided city full of holiness”, was a thought that was always present in our minds since our arrival in this holy city.

EMIS gave us the opportunity of spending three days in the unbelievable city of Jerusalem. There, we all made unforgettable memories, broadened our knowledge, and had a hands-on experience with the complex conflict found in this city and in the region. We were also able to explore holy places in the old city from different religions and learn about these through a personal engagement throughout our trip.

During Jerusalem week, students were split into smaller groups that investigated different aspects of the city. We were part of the “Holy Places” group, where the aim was to investigate and explore Holy Sites in the Old City in a deeper way. We were also able to visit a few from three different religions; Christianity, Judaism and Islam. These included the Via Dolorosa, St. Anne’s Church, the Notre Dame Chapel, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Western Wall, Omar’s Mosque, and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“Spontaneous, exciting, fun, amazing, holy, hummus, and ineffable” are some of the words that people used when asked to describe their day. Looking back at the memories of our day, these words describe our experience perfectly. One of the words that really stands out is spontaneous, because even if we planned out our day minute by minute, it ended up improvised, making it even more exciting and interesting. From getting lost in the different quarters of the old city to suddenly finding ourselves by the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque by chance, are just a few of the many great moments that we had throughout the day.

We asked some of the members in the group to share their best moments:

“I just liked the moments of us walking/ talking/ laughing/ getting lost together in the old city with our guide Hassan.” (Jiao Yuhang)

“The best moment was when Jon positioned the camera to fit in the whole group and the Dome of the Rock behind them and then the people who took the picture zoomed in so the Dome of the Rock wasn’t visible.” (Isabella Akesson)

“I always wanted to see, appreciate and reflect in the Christian places where Jesus walked and stayed, and having this great opportunity for the first time made me have a memorable feeling and experience that cannot be described with words.” (Danilo Angulo).

“Some specific moments might be the hummus lunch” (Jiao Yuhang)

“Being my first time in Jerusalem there were a lot of moments I found breathtaking such as the dome of the rock. Since the beginning it was very exciting cause we got confused and didn’t know where to go. Hassan was a great guide by the way. I tried good humus for the first time too haha and it was very tasty.” (Arsa Sota)

Overall, our Jerusalem week experience was really meaningful as we had the opportunity to share opinions and moments with other people, see the city and the conflict from different points of view, and to use it as an impulse to keep making education a force for peace and sustainability in the Middle East.

Written by: Isabella Akesson and Danilo Angulo Molina
Edited by: Shy Zvouloun

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