This Thursday (1/12) it’s finally time for UF Uppsala’s first trip of the semester: we’re going to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv! On this blog we will be updating frequently about our experiences so that all members get the change to learn about the places we go to, the people we meet and everything else that happens during the week.
The Travel Group for this trip consists of Travel coordinator Alicia Björnsdotter, Travel assistant Sara Nuder and 16 other excited UF members. During the last two months we have had weekly meetings in the UF office where we’ve been planning and discussing what we want to do during the trip. We’ve gotten in contact with a lot of interesting people and organisations which has resulted in a very busy schedule for the week. We’ve also tried to learn as much as possible about the region and the conflict by watching documentaries and movies, googling delicious Middle Eastern food and even starting a book circle where some of us are reading the book The Almond Tree by author Michelle Cohen-Corasanti.
Last Thursday we had an intense day in Stockholm where we first met with the Israeli ambassador Isaac Bachman at the Israeli embassy. It was a very fascinating visit and it was interesting to hear his version of the situation and how he sees the conflict. 
When we had finished the meeting with the ambassador we had a quick walk to the Swedish radio building where we met with foreign correspondent Agneta Ramberg. She has been based in the Middle East during many years and has great knowledge of the region, so it was fun to get the chance to talk to her and ask her some of our questions.
After the two meetings some of us went for a late lunch to discuss and process everything that we’d heard during the day. We felt that it was a good combination to meet with both the ambassador and Agneta during the same day to get a contrast between different views and opinions. One of the things that we’ve talked a lot about within the group is that we want to learn both sides of the story and not get a biased image of the conflict.
On Friday, we had a lecture in the UF-office with Mathilda Lindgren who is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research here at Uppsala University. She showed us some pictures and talked about her own experiences as an international observer in the West Bank, but she also told us a lot about the conflict in general and took the time to answer all the questions that we had.
With all of these pre-trip activities we’re super excited to fly to Tel Aviv on Thursday!! Speaking for myself, I’m sure that this will be an incredible but also very challenging week. It will be a lot to take in and will probably be a bit overwhelming at times, but I’m also certain that we will learn so much about the conflict and about the people living in these two countries.
Stay updated on this blog so you don’t miss anything that we experience on the trip!
By Anna Tybrandt, member of the Travel Group and SAIA-representative in the board.